2008-08-09 00:00

The Olympic spirit is symbolised by its flame, a beacon that guides the aspirations of millions of athletes around the world. The Games themselves may be taken as a metaphor for an ideal world, with the finest champions from a fellowship of nations engaged in uncompromising but honourable competition. The Olympic ideal affirms much that is noble about humanity, and indeed each Games does yield its stirring tales of individuals who have striven with tenacity and courage, often against daunting odds, to achieve the best that they possibly can.

Together with the individual contests, the Olympics have become a measure of national prowess as each country tallies its harvest of medals. Ideally again, these successes should point to the benefits that a state provides to all its citizens so that they can hold their own with the best in the world. That, regrettably, is not always the case, as some countries have singled out potential champions for highly privileged treatment while the bulk of the population remains neglected. This year it is China, the host nation itself, whose reputation for human rights abuses has prejudiced the standing of the Games.

Indeed, as the Olympic flame highlights the ideal human virtues, so it exposes the meaner human frailties. Almost inevitably someone will again be found to have taken performance-enhancing drugs, but it can be hoped that the punishment will be exemplary. And, for the Chinese people, perhaps the clearing of Beijing’s polluted air for the sake of the athletes may be a harbinger of better things to come.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.