"Olympic ideals are also the United Nations ideals: tolerance, equality, fair play and, most of all, peace. Together, the Olympics and the United Nations can be a winning team."
- Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General, September 2000
As A Forum
A key legacy of Pierre de Coubertinís Olympics is a non-violent platform for the exchange of political and social ideas. The fields, the courts and arenas of the Games serve as a civilized forum for protests, alliances, and diplomatic exchanges.
The forum of the Olympics is perhaps more powerful than any battlefield. A victory at the Olympics under various time frames can be more than a victory in battle. During the cold war, the U.S. and USSSR greatly sought Olympic victories to propel their national pride and propaganda. Hitler also sought the Olympic forum to spread his ideology on the ěgreatness of the Aryan race.î Communist states strive to make a point at the efficiency of their government and society with each victory. This is also true for any other types of government.
A large gallery of media presence supports the forum. A statement made at the Olympics is heard by billions around the world. This effect is greater than a victory in battle. A diplomatic gain at the Olympics is less odious than any months of table discussions but the impact of such achievement is equal if not greater.
The Olympics have been the launch pads for strong social, diplomatic and political statements. In the 2000 Summer Games, North Koreans and South Koreans bitterly divided at the 38 parallel line walked into the opening ceremony hand in hand under a united Olympic flag. No actions of symbolism are clearer than what those countrymen did that night. They show to the whole world that the people of North and South Korea desperately want to unite as one country but their governments hinder them.
Most importantly the forum allows the individuals to make personal statements. Olympians come from all walks of life. Most of them are common people with little ties if any to the politics of their countries. The Olympics allow them a chance to be in the spotlight and direct the attention of the world. For a brief moment, they yield unimaginable influence on the world. Some use this to their every advantage others do not.