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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Olympic games showcase humanity's best

From the belly of a 3000 year-old theater, actors recite ancient words. Inside a ring, two men bob and weave, trading blows.

“To be in Greece at all is always amazing,” John Petrogonas, ’07, said. “I vacation in Greece every year, but being there this year during the Olympics was my favorite trip I’ve ever had. To be right in the middle of all the tradition and culture of Greece is truly indescribable.”

Between viewing renditions of Homer’s epic, The Iliad, and U.S. vs. Canada boxing matches, Petrogonas hardly had time to catch his breath.

“I felt this amazing electricity everywhere in the air,” Petrogonas said. “Even in the cafes you couldn’t hear your own conversation. All sound was drowned out by the din of the fans, and sitting in the stands, I thought the stadium would crumble with noise when the athletes took the field.”

Many people experienced the same energy, even while sitting in front of their televisions in America. Capturing the attention of the nation is no small feat a time when Right Guard claims that their deodorant is extreme.

Generation gaps have become gaping fissures. Few things bridge these chasms caused by time, but the Olympics managed to bring people of all ages to their television screen.

Maurine Ricky, a sports loving grandmother, sacrificed many football games in order to watch the Olympics.

“It’s wasn’t just one thing about the Games that captivated me,” Ricky said. “Its all of it put together that gets me. It shows that that there’s still great sportsmanship in the world. Also, I like that you don’t have to wait an entire season to find out who’s the winner.”

When asked, people cite a multitude of reasons explaining their passionate devotion to the Olympics.

“I love watching the Olympics each year,” Lindsey Martens, ’05, said. “The reason I get so into the Olympics is because it has such history and meaning behind it.”

Most people know that there is a great history behind the Games, but few know the vast scope of that history.

In the seventh century B.C., Greece was a collection of constantly warring city-states. In 776, an agreement was reached to cease the fighting every four years in order to gather the greatest athletes in the world together for one ultimate competition.

The tradition has endured for more than two and a half thousand years, and eventually became known as the Olympics.

While today’s Games may not take place in such an extreme, war-scarred environment, conflicts between nations still exist.

“I feel like the world is so much more unified during the Olympics,” Ricky said. “It’s like the entire world, and all the problems in it, just pause for 16 days.”

This hiatus from conflict is likely due to the pause everyone takes to root for their own country.

“It’s like everyone is in the same boat,” Tedd Lyons, assistant pastor at University Presbyterian Church, said. “We’re all putting our country’s hopes and dreams on these athletes. Because of this, a friendly but highly competitive environment is formed.”

Some find the Olympics much better than anything else offered to television viewers.

“The Olympics only come around every four years, and it’s always a welcome reprieve from the doldrums of daily television,” Brandon Cain, ’06, said. “It’s the ultimate reality show. It’s actually real, and the contestants are putting their entire lives and everything they’ve sacrificed on the line.”

Others find relish the pure humanity of the Games.

“The Olympics showcase the best of the best,” Martens said. “These athletes have dedicated their lives to their event, and they all come together to once place to compete for the collective dream of winning a medal.

“It’s really inspiring for me to hear some of their stories and backgrounds and see all they have sacrificed to become what they are. Seeing the true passion and heart the athletes show in order to accomplish their goals is amazing to me.”

Whatever the reason, for 16 days every four years, the world pauses to watch the Olympics. Young and old, athletes or not, there is something for everyone.

For recaps, stories, history or links for more information about the Olympics, visit www.athens2004.com.
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