EYESHENZHEN  /   Opinion

'Together' also the core value of Olympics

Writer: Winton Dong  |  Editor: Jane Chen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2021-08-03

As we all know, "Faster, Higher, Stronger" has been the motto for the Olympic Games for more than 100 years and has turned out to be a household slogan all over the world.

The original motto, the Latin "Citius, Altius, Fortius," was first adopted by the founder of the modern Olympic Games Pierre de Coubertin, a noble gentleman from France, in the late 19th century.

Two days before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee passed a resolution at a meeting held on July 21, to add the word "Together" to the original motto, highlighting the need for global solidarity during difficult times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. With the added word, the motto now reads: "Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together."

"This is a milestone in our development and sends a clear signal to the outside world. We want to put special focus on solidarity," Thomas Bach, president of the committee, said in an interview.

In my point of view, such an amendment is not only an urgent call for greater international unity in the fight against the ravaging pandemic, but also shows the trend of the times and the essential spirit of the modern Olympic Games, especially in these hard times when the global economy is in recession and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise.

Frankly speaking, "Higher, Faster, Stronger" is quite a good and suitable motto for the international sports event. It puts emphasis on better and better individual performance, demanding all athletes challenge themselves and set new records unceasingly. Nevertheless, too much emphasis on performance in recent decades has also led to some side effects and illegal acts such as unfair competition and enhanced usage of drugs and stimulants. Under such circumstances, "together" is of special importance and should also now be regarded as the core value of the Games.

"Together" means team spirit. Besides some individual sports, many other Olympic activities such as volleyball, football, gymnastics, swimming, shooting, archery, relay race, badminton and table tennis doubles are all attended by more than one athlete. Together — the willingness to cooperate with teammates — is of vital significance in these games.

Moreover, "together" means respect for both winners and losers, especially the losers. It is a routine that we always put the winners under spotlights and prefer to ignore or even blame the losers. For example, when Chinese player Wang Luyao failed to qualify for the women's 10-meter air rifle final in the Tokyo Games, Chinese netizens slammed and vilified her instead of giving encouragement. A similar occurrence also happened in Japan. On July 23, Japanese woman tennis player Naomi Osaka was honored to light the main torch of the Tokyo Olympic Games. However, when she was disqualified in the third round match on July 27, she was severely criticized by Japanese people. Tokyo Sports even commented that her disqualification was a big stain for the host country. These incidents have demonstrated that there is still a long way to go for humanity to build a truly diversified and inclusive society. Every athlete wants to win, every athlete wants to bring fame to his or her motherland, but there is only one champion. Irrespective of who wins, it is more important for all athletes to participate and enjoy the process. That is what the Olympics Games or any other sports tournament should be about.

"Together" also means unity going beyond national boundaries. In spite of color, culture, ideology or any other difference, the Olympic Games should not just be a competition to win gold, but should also be a unique platform to unite people from all over the world.

(The author is the editor-in-chief of Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)