Did you know the Olympics started with a beautiful question? The question was raised by Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France, who founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894 to tackle this lofty, ambitious idea:
Might it be possible to reduce international warfare by having countries compete on the playing field, instead of the battle field?
It’s hard to say whether the Olympics have lessened the amount of warfare over the years, but they surely have contributed to a spirit of international goodwill. True, we tend to root for our own country’s athletes to win the medals, but we also find ourselves, at various times, pulling for some inspiring athlete or team from a faraway land. And in some small way, this probably fosters greater empathy with places that otherwise would not be in our thoughts. Plus it’s all great fun, of course. So here’s a salute to Baron de Coubertin and his beautiful question.