Rio Olympics an inspiration

August 11, 2016 GMT

Rio Olympics an inspirationSince 2008, I have enjoyed writing about every aspect of the Olympics. What perhaps will distinguish the Rio Games more than any other factor, however, will be the fact that they happened at all. Despite all too real threats of terrorist attacks and reports of a restrained budget, the splendor of the opening ceremonies, and the courageous performances of the athletes, so far, have displayed the indomitable spirit of Brazil and the world.In moving forward, in such spectacular fashion, Rio has exhibited the ideal of Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympics, who said, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning, but taking part.” Through the splendor of the opening ceremonies, as well as the exuberance of the crowd and participants, Brazil in fact exceeded this ideal.With regard to splendor, there was the physical beauty of supermodel Gisele Bundchen and aerial view of Rio’s picturesque coastline, and the artistic and cultural beauty of singer/songwriter Paulinho de Viola playing the Brazilian national anthem to the melody of classical guitar, as well as the creative rendering of the Amazon forest. The exhilaration of the crowd singing and dancing to the music was palpable.With regard to athletic performances, American swimmer Katie Ledecky besting her own 400 meter freestyle world record time, by almost two seconds, to take the gold medal, and Michael Phelps earning his 20th and 21st gold medals, are certainly heroic. But de Coubertin’s courageous spirit is equally embodied by the unlikely appearance of the Brazilian men’s and women’s gymnastic teams in the finals, and female Romanian gymnast Catalina Ponor competing in the balance beam finals, as her country’s lone representative, with a long shot at a medal.Many have despaired at the uncertain future of our country and the world, with continued acts of wanton violence, both at home and abroad. One can hope that the spirit and valor shown by Brazil and the Olympic athletes will inspire us all to keep taking part in life.Ed SelenderDerby