Olympic perspectives

Spiritual dimension undergirds Olympic ideals

The 2002 Winter Olympics theme , "Light the Fire Within," suggests that qualities such as drive, determination, patriotism, sacrifice, and faith, when ignited within the competitors, will inspire them to do their best. The organizers hope that this demonstration of excellence in sports will the fire within an entire community, the nation—the world—to celebrate humanity in a peaceful, harmonious way.

Comedian Robin Williams narrates a TV spot for the Salt Lake City Games that features a ski jumper blasting into the air and then coming to a perfect landing. "Man can overcome many things—even little ones, like fear," quips Williams. That may seem humorous, but in fact, overcoming fear leads naturally to overcoming limitations. For example, in 1860, Norwegian Sondre Norheim ski jumped 30 meters and became known as the father of ski jumping. In 2002, the jumpers are flying 225 meters. Surely, the athletes' overcoming of fear must have played a significant part in pushing the boundaries of this sport over the span of these 140 years.

February 11, 2002
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