The 2012 Summer Olympics are finally here! Some 205 countries have sent athletes to complete in the games of the 30th Olympiad. Here are five things you may not have known about this year’s Olympics.
• Four billion people the world over are expected to tune in to the Olympics on TV.
In case you were wondering, yes, I love the summer Olympics. I suppose it could have something to do with growing up in Greece where they began long ago. But I also love how the Olympics bring our fractured world, with all of its wars, abuses, and ills, together in one place. I love how we end up cheering, not just for fellow Americans, but for our fellow human beings, as we are caught up in the drama of their heartbreaks and achievements. I love how for two weeks every four years, east and west, north and south, rich and poor, developing world and developed world, (mostly) put aside their differences and gather to offer the very best they can be.
• London will be the only city to have hosted the Games three times – in 1908, 1948, and 2012.
• Ticket prices will range from €20.12 ($32) for cheap seats all the way to €2,012 ($3,200) for front row seats. Get it?
• Gold medals are comprised of 1.3% gold and 93% silver.
• If Michael Phelps should medal three times, he will surpass Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina as the winner of the most Olympic medals ever (he already is in possession of the most golds, with fourteen).
The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, Latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger." It came from a speech by Henri Didon, a Dominican priest who served as the principal of an academy that incorporated sports into its educational curriculum. Didon’s friend, Pierre de Coubertin, proposed its use as the Olympic motto in 1894 but it wasn’t introduced until the 1924 Games in Paris.
The original idea behind Citius, Altius, Fortius was to focus upon bettering oneself, rather than to be first. When I hear this motto, I am reminded of several New Testament admonitions: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” (Colossians 3:23). “Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
Whether or not you are one of the four billion who will enjoy watching the Olympics, I invite you to draw inspiration from those who have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of excellence. May we aspire to give our best, to serve with all our hearts, and to live more vibrantly for our Lord.
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