Agony and Ecstasy
For the Greeks, the Olympic Games were about the “agonal drive”- the drive to compete, to contest and to be champion. Centuries later, the Greek spirit was revived when in 1894 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was formed and the first modern Olympic games took place in Athens a couple of years later. One of the obvious messages behind the games has always been a sense of harmony and cooperation between the nations. A spirit of healthy, competition between athletes was what it was all about. As the world got more and more wired it became a mega-globalised event costing billions of dollars- a big party for the media and a great thing to talk about for political gadflies.
It's ironic how everyone can come together only by competing against one another. Let's face it- people will fight no matter what. We'll be rolling tanks into other countries or we'll be running in sprints trying to get gold. The more 'peaceful' alternative becomes to take this agonal drive- which won't go away- and to direct it to controlled, localised and (relatively) harmless athletic contests. Games give rise to winners and losers. We need that. It is something that is necessary if we are to take our competitive aggression do something with it- to throw a javelin with all our might even when there are no more tigers around to kill.
From the Insight Desk
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