After a yearlong postponement and many other hurdles that were brought along by the pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics finally kicked off this past weekend.
There are many reasons to enjoy this historic, two-week long event, the incredible feats of athleticism, competitive story lines, and record breaking performances.
Aside from the obvious reasons of what makes watching the world’s top athletes so great, my favorite part about the Olympics is the sense of unity it can bring to a nation, and to the world.
When the Olympics are happening, it provides a common ground for all Americans to root for. It doesn’t matter about locale or region; everyone is rooting for the country as a whole to succeed.
Waiting in line at a coffee shop and talking to strangers about the weird events occurring on the TV (hello powerwalking) brings about a refreshing topic in casual conversation that is hard to come by.
Local communities rallying around athletes from their area is also a great example of how people can come together. One of my favorite clips from this past week were the hundreds of people from Seward, Alaska celebrating swimmer Lydia Jacoby’s victory in the 100-meter breaststroke.
With a population of only 2,700, hundreds of supporters gathered together to cheer on their hometown hero. Words don’t do it justice, you need to watch the video. Crowd cheers as Seward’s Lydia Jacoby wins gold in 100-meter breaststroke Olympic swimming finals
This type of excitement and celebration can only be found during these type of sporting events. The Olympics bringing together a community like this is great to see as we find ways to connect. Being able to converge with people over these types of sporting events reminds me that people are frequently looking for something to connect, and celebrate, with others about.
While the Olympics only happen every four years, we hope that local groups can provide this type of community to people in their surrounding area. Churches serve an important role in this endeavor as they work to enrich the communities around them. At Here I Am, we are excited to see how Churches continue to empower people by giving them a comforting place to connect and engage with others.
Written by Will York