2014 Olympics: The World Comes Together For Sport

The Olympic rings standing outside of Sochi International Airport

The Olympic rings standing outside of Sochi International Airport

The Olympics have just begun, and with the collaboration of people and cultures from around the world, we like to look at the long established Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship.

Athletes from around the world embracing each other

Athletes from around the world embracing each other

Today, sport inspires hope, builds and heals communities, and can unite people everywhere. A new record of 88 nations have qualified to compete in events bringing together more nations than any previous Olympic games. From Jamaica to Sweden to Japan, countries that are separated by thousands of miles, nearly 100 countries come together to compete on the same stage with a common background: athlete. As we listen to the stories of Olympians from around the world, we remember that sport is shared by everyone and can bring out the best in not only people, but the world.

For the past four years, the Olympics have held a Cultural Olympiad program, which has focused on a different genre of arts each year. It began in 2010 with the year of cinema, while 2011 was theater, 2012 was music and 2013 was museums. Sochi is holding the finale of the program, which consists of highlights from the past four years of Cultural Olympiads. With this great program in place, spectators will not only watch the world’s best athletes, but they will be able to engage with and learn from Russian culture in the form of concerts, operas and films. More than 5,000 artists from 70 regions of Russia will perform at numerous venues around the two Games centers, and many events will be free.

Choirs of Russia "Singing for Peace" in a Cultural Olympiad event

Choirs of Russia “Singing for Peace” in a Cultural Olympiad event

This highlights one of the most important parts of the Olympics. Aside from competing with those around the globe, it is essential to interact with the various cultures around you to both learn and appreciate other people around the world. PeacePlayers works with over 4,000 youth athletes each year to both teach them the fundamentals of basketball and the life skills necessary to improve their communities and create a more peaceful world. From PeacePlayers to the Olympics, sport is an incredible tool that can be used to bridge divides, develop leaders and change perceptions.

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