The 2016 Olympics recently began in Rio de Janeiro, sparking excitement among fans and athletes alike. Unfortunately, this year the Olympics have been plagued by reports of forced eviction of residents, police brutality, and government corruption. With these injustices occurring, viewers may ask themselves if it is morally wrong to enjoy the Olympics. However, when looking at the event as a whole, the positives that the Olympics bring to the world outweigh the negatives.
One of the biggest positives of the Olympics is that the athletes are given the opportunity to represent their countries with pride. Many of the countries that compete in the Olympics are not well-known, but they are still given the same opportunity to send athletes to compete for medals and pride alongside the biggest and most well-known countries in the world. In a statement on the official Olympics website, Novak Djokovic, a 2016 Olympian from Serbia who will be competing in tennis, said “that is one of next season’s highlights and priorities: to get a medal for my country. I’ll do everything I possibly can to achieve that.” This statement of pride demonstrates the opportunity that the Olympics brings to people all over the world, no matter how big or small their home country.
In addition, all of these athletes, many of whom have worked all of their life or many years in order to make it to the Olympics, get to see their work pay off when they are chosen to compete and represent their countries. Thus, even if the athletes do not win a medal, they still showed their skills and gave the competition their best effort in front of billions of people worldwide.
This idea is supported by the belief of Jordan Spieth, an Olympic golfer from the United States. He states that “[t]he Olympics are the world’s most watched sporting event and to be able to be one of those athletes would be something I’d never forget.” Even though the goal is to win, the journey is unforgettable and unlike any other athletic opportunity in the world. Boycotting the Olympics due to the negative events in Rio would deprive these athletes and countries the proper representation that they have dreamed of and earned through years of hard work and dedication.
Another benefit of the Olympics is that the host country often enjoys both the popular support of its citizens and the opportunity to show the world what that country is all about. It is important to note that the Olympics are held in different cities every two years, some of which are not well-known like Sochi, Russia (where the 2014 winter Olympics were held).
The Economist writes that the “main reason cities want to host the Olympics is that, perhaps against the odds, they are wildly popular with the voters who foot the bill. The IOC found that public support for hosting the games was around 70% in Tokyo, 76% in Madrid and 83% in Istanbul.” This shows that there is significant support for hosting the Olympics among the populations of the chosen countries regardless of their political or economic standing. This year there are protests by some of Rio’s citizens against hosting of the Olympics, but it is clear that many citizens see the Olympics as beneficial for the hosting country.
Despite the various misdoings that have happened in Rio, the positive things that the Olympics bring to the world outweighs the negatives that have occurred this year. That is not to say that these tragic events are just or unimportant, but boycotting the Olympics would deprive the athletes, fans, competing countries, and the host country of the opportunity of a lifetime that they have worked so hard to achieve. Unfortunately, there is not much people outside of Brazil can do about these issues because they are being caused by issues within Brazil as well as its police force and government. Thus, changes would need to be made by these agencies in order to improve the tragedies that have occurred in Brazil this year. While the protests may pressure these agencies over time and lead to improvement, only time will tell.
It is not wrong for billions of people to enjoy the Olympics because it gives opportunities for every country to send athletes to represent them, the games allow the athletes to see their hard work and dedication pay off, and benefit the host country as well. For these reasons, fans should continue watching the Olympics in order to support the many athletes and their respective countries’ in the biggest sporting event available worldwide.