The 2016 Olympic Games begin this weekend in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will be the first time the Olympics will take place in South America and only the second time they’ve been hosted in the Southern hemisphere. The games are an exciting time around the globe, which creates friendly competition at the international level. The Olympic motto is “Citius – Altius – Fortius”, which translates to “Faster – Higher – Stronger”. The modern games started in 1896. They take place every 4 years. It’s the largest global stage in sports. Unfortunately, the word “friendly” is rarely used to describe global issues today. Perhaps, the next 2 weeks will provide some reprieve and perspective around the world and remind us that collaboration and togetherness can still be a part of competition.
It’s been a tough go for Brazil lately. The country has been battling economic recession, impeachment proceedings for its President, increased crime, polluted water and the Zika virus. Many athletes have chosen not to come this year. In the case of Russian athletes, many were told they can’t come. Cheating is not new to the Olympics. Full participation doesn’t always happen either. The US boycotted the Moscow games in 1980. The Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 games in Los Angeles. The games were even canceled during the World War years.
2016 was supposed to be a breakout year for Brazil. The once promising emerging market nation was poised to show the world how far it has come economically, politically and socially. Now, the hope is merely to get thru the next 2 weeks without issue. Brazil is one of the famed “BRIC” nations, referring to Brazil Russia India and China, which were the hot emerging markets that represented such promise for investment. Today, India stands alone in this group of 4, demonstrating strong growth, while the other 3 have struggled. The global economy has been facing many challenges. Growth has been hard to find. But we keep looking and are finding it strategically.
This weekend is also a big swim meet in the Bay Area. It’s an event that brings kids from age 4 to 18 together to compete and cheer on their teammates. All 3 of my girls are swimming this weekend. It is the healthiest of competitions which introduces so many life lessons; Hard work, commitment, tenacity, success, failure, teamwork, learning, personal responsibility and never giving up. That’s what life is about. It’s an important message that we all need to remind ourselves. Healthy competition is a really good thing. But only when it comes with good intentions, respect and appreciation for others.
Have a nice weekend.