Guest post by A good friend who goes by the name of WaldenTwo
Historically, the Olympics were a period in which people, city-states and kingdoms would set aside their differences and compete. No matter the reason or the extent of a dispute,
athletes from all city-states and kingdoms would compete against each-other. However, this is not true for the modern day olympics in which there are cases where countries use the olympics as a battering ram. Specifically, some arab countries (and a particular Persian country) instruct their athletes not to compete or even come in contact with athletes from Israel.
For example, during the 1st week of the London olympics, Judoka’s from Lebanon refused to train on the same mat as Judoka’s from Israel (even-though the Judoka’s from Israel had greeted their northern neighbors warmly). The refusal of the Lebanese delegation was so adamant that the organizers of the event had to put up a temporary wall between Judoka’s of both countries. During the Athens (2004) olympic games the Iranian 66 kg world judo champion purposefully overweighed himself in order not to compete against an Israeli judoka in the 1st round (the Iranian government later awarded him with 1 million dollars for this act).
If people, city states and kingdoms were able to put their differences aside during the ancient olympics, why is this not possible with modern nations during the modern olympics? Why do modern nations use the olympics as a political tool to batter each other, rather than use the olympics as a bridging tool?
Some would say that bridging the differences between nations (especially in the case of Israel and the arab nations) is IMPOSSIBLE. However, experts previously said that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to take more swimming gold medals in one olympic games than the legendary Mark Spitz took in Munich 1972 (7 of them), come Beijing 2008 and Michael Phelps took 8. Furthermore, judo fans and experts thought it would be IMPOSSIBLE for a Judoka to take 3 consecutive olympic gold medals- Tadahiro Nomura achieved this feat with tittles at Atlanta (1996), Sidney (2000) and Athens (2004). Moreover, until Nadia Comaneci achieved the first perfect score on the uneven bars in the Montreal Olympics (1976) it was thought to be IMPOSSIBLE (the judges didn’t even have the score 10 on their scoreboard and instead flashed 1.00).
Paraphrasing the slogan made by Adidas: IMPOSSIBLE is a big word uttered by little people- IMPOSSIBLE is nothing. Therefore, if particular Arab countries and Iran would not boycott Israel in the olympics, it would be POSSIBLE to use the olympics as a bridging tool.