On being inspired by Sochi 2014

On being inspired by Sochi 2014

I surprised myself today. When I got up, I decided to watch a short video of the lightning of the Olympic cauldron in Sochi (missed the full ceremony due to our time difference). By 0:36 I was crying, and had tears in my eyes until the flame was lit.

The emotions came suddenly, and they were the happy ones. There is something in sport, in the excellence the best of our athletes demonstrate, that tugs on my heartstrings. Add to that the pinnacle of human achievement, the Olympics, and the fact they are held in Russia, my country of origin, with all the pride that comes with that, and you get a recipe for emotional fireworks.

It’s no wonder so many other disciplines – from business to education to self-help – draw parallels with sport. It indeed has a universal appeal – regardless whether you consider yourself an active sportsman or a spectator or simply a bystander – we can all relate to the physical expression of excellence and achievement it demonstrates.

And when it comes to the Olympics, regardless of what you might think of Russia, its law or its government, or even the organising of the Games themselves – when all is said and done, I’m proud Sochi hosts Olympic Games. I’m sure that the people on the ground, thousands of organisers and volunteers, among whom are my friends, will do their very best to have a fantastic sporting event, and to share our country with the world. There is more to Sochi 2014 than Putin.

So here is my hope – like in the ancient tradition, let’s for the time of the Olympics stop our prejudices, finger-pointing and righteousness, and focus on what the Olympics mean. Celebrating the best of human achievement – swifter, higher, stronger – regardless of geopolitical games of countries we come from.