Opinion

Anita DeFrantz
IOC Vice-President

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22/05/2019 par Anita DeFrantz

HOW CAN WE MAKE THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE LAST FOREVER?

In one month, the Olympic Day will be celebrated around the world to promote participation in sport across the globe regardless of age, gender or athletic ability. It is also the opportunity to remind how Olympic values contribute to fight against racism and anti-Semitism.

We have the privilege of living in the 21stcentury and we have the responsibility to use the knowledge given us from all of the centuries, years and days that we have shared on this earth. We know that tribalism, which means seeking those with perceived sameness, has constantly led to disaster.

I come from a family immersed in the fight for civil rights across three centuries. My mother, the original Anita DeFrantz was very clear as she taught us that there is only one race, the human race, on earth. We come in variety of skin colors, shapes and sizes and we are all members of the human race.

And a clear proof is found in sport and the Olympic movement. Entering the Olympic Village, I found a community of women and men in every size, shape, and skin color sharing the common experience of success. We had each been selected to represent our nation. We knew that only a few of us would leave with Olympic medals. And yet, we lived in peace sharing meals and life experiences as we committed to fair play and mutual respect.

The Olympic Games, which are a celebration of human excellence, show the world as it must be. Those of us who have lived in an Olympic Village know this to be true. Spectators at home or in the venues experience the beauty of mutual respect.

And yet, ignorance and fear perpetuate racism and antisemitism. How can we make the Olympic Village, which exists over four weeks, last forever? And how can we end the institution of slavery which today has 40 million people enslaved?

We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the ones who can and must make the difference for the world. We know the “golden Rule” simply do unto others as you would have done to yourself. Exquisite in simplicity and certainly effective.

Now, I ask you to take two actions. One looks back and the other looks forward. Reaching back, please find the oldest person you know and interview them with audio and visual. Respect them for the life they have lived as they share it with you. Looking forward, find a young person to mentor and share life experiences.

The more we know, the better we can be.

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