Originating from the great religious festivals that brought together people throughout the Greek world, millions of people have attended the Olympic Games and over four billion people throughout the world watch the Olympics on television. At the last Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, more than six thousand athletes from seventy-one different countries competed. An endless amount of spectators and participants are involved, regardless of the international event. These multi-sport competitions are becoming less of a platform to demonstrate athleticism and more of a platform to express political views regarding ethics and human rights.
Politics has played a tremendous role in sporting events, and this is simply due to the enormous relationship sports has to human rights and ethics in our society. A large number of people have become engaged in the most important athletic competition in the world, the Olympic Games, that the competition is now fully politicized. At the most recent Olympics, ten thousand five hundred athletes, seven thousand five hundred team officials, and three thousand technical officials came from two hundred and three countries to London in 2012 for the Summer Games. This competition has evolved since the ancient Olympics that were founded by Heracles, son of Zeus and Alcmene, held at Olympia in western Greece back in 776 B.C.. Although the competitions still have competitive qualities and winning athletes won a kotinos (an olive wreath) instead of a medal, the evolution of the incorporation of politics took place due to the large increase in the number of people associated with this event.
The motto of the Olympics, Citius, Altius, Fortius are Latin words that can be defined as Swifter, Higher, and Stronger. This emphasizes the fact that the games are slowly drifting further and further away from the origins of this competition. Nowadays, a different motto would certainly be a more appropriate fit. The Latin words used all make references to sportsmanlike abilities and they are better suited to describe the Olympic festivals that honored Zeus, the king of the gods. But immediately after the Romans conquered Greece, during the 140’s B.C., the games failed to retain their religious meaning. First came their religious significance, and soon enough, their original athletic intentions vanished and instead they gained a political value. With no more than the simple issues of human culture involving ethics and human rights, they no longer really exemplify the ancient Greek pursuit of excellence and reverence for physical beauty.
These games were so significant to the ancient Greeks that they even used a measurement of time called Olympiads, which were the four-year intervals between each Olympics. Their importance today, however, remains the same as it was three thousand years ago. That is, if they are considered significant for reasons other than their component of the competitive performance of physical activity.