Chariots Of Fire, The Olympics And Munich’s Shame!

by Teréza Eliasz-Solomon (HeiressMommy™)

Perfection as a goal  in the world of sports can elevate a human being to heights that can only be described as euphoric. In previous posts, I discussed my own parents and my and my husband’s similar insistence that the children in our family, like ourselves, participate in sports [ my dear husband took no chances our twin sons would not love sports – their main nursery was sports themed from the beginning – even the crib mobiles]. I have also mentioned that for my family athletics has never been about making it to the Olympics or being a professional sports star [unless, of course, that was destined to be and desired] but instead it was about  being both physically fit and also about getting to be part of a team effort – in my 2013 book: Heiress Mommy …A Modern Super Woman Life! I will include my own dependence on athletics and sports at some very sad times in my own life. Another important issue is that  too many minimally talented young people are lured and convinced that they are sports super stars, when indeed they are not – leading to an unfulfilled destiny and I feel, unhappy life. In another blog post I wrote about the idea and personal philosophy that mind, body and soul are all intertwined – so it was for the original Olympic participants – where even poetry was part of the training. The reason I am including this in an Olympic themed blog post is that when my family goes to [as I have been so privileged to have done once] or sits down to watch the Olympics it will be with pure joy and for the love of the games with no prejudice or self interest nor fantasy about our own athletic prowess  …except, this year [2012] brings sadness as well – for Munich’s shame is now London’s shame as there will apparently be no moment of silence for those massacred in 1972.

Empatheia and pathos are Greek words for passion and suffering – a perfect and accurate description of each Olympiad’s quest for glory. The ideal sought by these athletes should not ever be marred by politics but tragically the modern day Olympics games have seen far too much of that exact situation. The origins of the modern Olympic games began when  French Citizen Pierre de Coubertin spoke at the Sorbonne in 1894 attempting to convince The International Congress that the Olympic games needed to be restored as a response to the French defeat during the Franco-Prussian War.  So it was that two years later in 1896 the world began the  route toward lighting the torch. Even though wars and world strife have rarely interrupted the Olympics there were cancellation during both WWI and WWII. The glory lies in that  even when that occurred, the shared dreams of the athletes remained resolute and forward thinking to the next Olympic games – bringing financial gains and improved image to its host cities throughout the world. . As one should in private life, athletes involved overcame and redirected themselves toward victory but there is no way to ignore the societal issues that have indeed been part of the Olympic games over the years.

The 1981 British film Chariots Of Fire depicts beautifully the story of the 1924 Olympic games where a British Jew ran and won as a way to overcome prejudice and antisemitism. The other main character is based on a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of G-d. These two men demonstrate a respect and friendship based on their shared determination as fellow Olympiads – should not that be the template of ALL sports? Hitler used the 1936 Olympics to presente a false narrative concerning his monstrous world domination plans and his design to annihilate the Jews. The most on site tragic Olympic event was undoubtedly the 1972 massacre in Munich of the Israeli athletes – sadly, at this year’s 2012 London Summer games no moment of silence will occur for these slain Jewish sportsman. One must ask if global antisemitism and misplace  hatred of Israel is the reason – for why then was the  tragic death of a Georgian luge athlete at the last Winter Olympics granted a  moment of silence and recognition. Is the group of Olympic officials who are responsible for such decisions really hateful of we Jews and Israel or are they allowing their decision to be determined by other nations wanting Israel destroyed? No Matter the real reason – ALL athletes and ALL who support the Olympics should be concerned – politicizing on account of nationality or religion is definitely a slippery slope away from the Olympic glory.

We Diaspora Jews and Israelis are nothing if not a determined and resilient and optimistic group of people – we will NEVER be deterred nor denied. As such, our presence and success at this 2012 Summer Olympics and all to come will be felt. The triumphs of my people has served as an example to ALL the world – athlete and others – that anything, no matter the strength of one’s enemy, can be overcome and victory achieved!!!

P.S.  I hope everyone will join my family in supporting our U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama in promoting a national dialogue and effort on fitness and nutrition …our wonderful FLOTUS will be leading an Olympic activity called “Lets Move!” for our brave military service men and women’s children this week at our London U.S. Embassy!

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