When the Olympic Games are on, Summer or Winter, it’s easy to declare that they are not just relevant but material — that is, they matter, and a lot.
The challenge for everyone involved with the Olympic movement around the world is when the Games are not on, and that challenge is elemental: being relevant, especially to young people, and making a difference in their lives.
When a teen activist from Swedish can inspire far-reaching school climate strikes — and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination — is it really too much to ask the International Olympic Committee as well to seek to make a difference, a really big difference, in our broken world?
Coming together in peace and unity — that is the entire point of a Games’ opening ceremony. It’s why it is the highlight of any Olympics, the world’s athletes gathering in what is both an expression of hope and a longing for peace — that maybe, just maybe, as the inadvertent soul poet Rodney King once put it, we can all get along.
The Games and the values for which the Olympics purport to be about — excellence, friendship, respect and, by extension, tolerance — are the very thing that stand in marked contrast to an abhorrent shooting spree like the one that ripped Thursday across two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The death toll now stands at 50.
Thus, this call for change:
At the Olympics, the guns have to go — that is, be gone.