This might be an obvious statement to many of you, given that so many aspects of the Games are politicized nowadays, from the individuals attending the Opening Ceremonies, to the refusal of certain athletes to practice next to athletes of certain nationalities.
At this point, however, I want to highlight the way in which nationality is constructed at the games. Specifically, it seems that instead of bringing people together, the Games provide an opportunity to assert the “differences” among individuals. I should specify that difference in itself is not a problem. After all, diversity is at the core of some of today’s more functional societies. However, nationalism has been at the centre of the world’s more disastrous conflicts. Wars of national liberation and secession are evidenced in every continent. While the Games are often said to promote harmony among different nations, through the rassemblement of people through sport, there is no question that the differences that have divided societies for centuries are reinforced. It exudes an attitude that says we can exist together, but we have irreconcilable differences.
It makes me feel good when I see athletes from every part of the world marching into a stadium full of cheering fans. However, to what extent is this propagating the notion that cultures (or even “nations”) have irreconcilable differences?