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July 04, 2020

Matthews and Collett Banned From Olympics

MUNICH, West Germany, Sept. 8 — The International Olympic Committee barred today two United States…
July 04, 2020

Vincent Matthews and Wayne Collett: A Most Casual Protest With Most Striking Consequences

They stood there casually, one barefoot, hands on hips, the other in thoughtful repose, right…
July 04, 2020

Athletes Will Be Banned From Protesting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But the Games Have…

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced new guidelines on Thursday that ban athletes from making…
July 04, 2020

RESOLUTION OF THE IOC EXECUTIVE BOARD WITH REGARD TO RACISM AND INCLUSION

The IOC stands for non-discrimination as one of the founding pillars of the Olympic Movement,…
July 01, 2020

Lewis highlights racial discrimination and gender inequality in sports

"Olympic Order is the Olympic Movement highest award for distinguished contributions to sports. The list…
June 29, 2020

Black Lives Matter movement brings ex-IOC President Brundage under new scrutiny

When the Olympic Games were last held in Tokyo, American multi-millionaire Avery Brundage was President…
June 27, 2020

Opinion: Equality still remains an elusive goal

My professional life has been defined by three principles: excellence, integrity, equality. They were bred…

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The dictionary defines excellence as the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. The International Olympic Committee promotes respect, friendship and excellence as core values of the Olympic Movement. Propagating these values is the responsibility of the Olympic movement led by the respective National Olympic Committees.

It’s a difficult role and responsibility given the ever changing landscape that is contemporary society. Pierre Coubertin- founder of the modern Olympic movement articulated the following:
• Joy of effort in sport and physical activity;
• Fair play;
• Respect for others
• Pursuit of excellence;
• Balance between body, will and mind.

However for the majority of people including many National Olympic Committees it is an Olympic medal preferably gold that defines excellence. What exactly is the pursuit of excellence? For some excellence is not just about winning. Sport inspires people in all walks of life to strive for excellence. There are no shortcuts to excellence.

Supporting the elite aspirations of those who aspire to win medals is a topic that causes significant discussions. Not everyone is of the view that elite level athletes should be supported. It may rankle some especially those of us who see the power of sport making a difference on a daily basis. But it is important to listen to the argument made by those who don’t support sport.

It’s a complicated issue that is shaped by individual experience, upbringing and perceptions. That sport is given special consideration is a source of resentment in some circles. Those of us who argue vehemently and passionately that the development of physical skills and positive motivation that comes from success in team and individual competition inspire the desire to pursue excellence must accept that not everyone buys the party line.

Sport at its best can help young people develop positive mental, social and psychological skills. But it has to be acknowledged that when sport is used for negative reasons it paints an ugly picture. It is in this respect that national sport organisations must be very conscious of the need to maintain the positive image and attributes of sport.

In embracing the duality of our human experience we find the ability to reach deep within ourselves and produce what we choose to define as excellence. In helping young athletes to pursue excellence we emphasize hope. Encourage positivity, set expectations and demand accountability. If we are to inspire champions it can’t be at the expense of the totality of human experience.

Excellence in many ways defines the experience of sport and the Olympic Movement. Aspiring for excellence in all that you do on and off the field is a worthy endeavour. Let’s continue to strive for excellence in life through sport. But let’s also embrace the challenge that sport isn’t a cure all and that making the argument for sport requires giving careful thought and consideration to different views.

Sport ought not to be used as a bully pulpit.

• Brian Lewis is the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.

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