Sunday, September 2, 2012

The role of faith in the Paralympic Games

When it comes to sports, the Olympics don't need an introduction, but without a doubt, the Paralympic Games usually don't get as much attention. From blind athletes to amputees, this year 170 countries are represented by people with physical disabilities... all of them competing to win the gold.

But few people know that faith plays a key role in modern day Olympics. They were founded by a Jesuit educated French aristocrat back in the 19th century. 

ANTHONY BAILEY -Constantinian Order 
“Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s idea of an international athletics competition was not for its own sake, but to promote the values which he saw in the ancient Games: peace and understanding between nations.”

To welcome both Olympics, the Constantinian Order of St. George organized a dinner in London. To truly reflect the diversity of it, delegates and presidents from different countries were invited. 

ANTHONY BAILEY -Constantinian Order 
“Distinguished guests, the Olympic spirit is above all a spirit of peace, symbolized in the famous Olympic truce. The Games of ancient Greece, were an opportunity, every four years, to help repair fragmented societies.”

Over 250 people attended the The Faith in Sport Royal Gala Dinner, including the president of Panama, the president of the Commonwealth of Dominica, the president of Montenegro and the Crown Prince of Tonga. 

But when it comes to sports and faith and achievement, what exactly can the Olympics teach non athletes, about life?

MSGR. VINCENT NICHOLS -Archbishop of Westminster 
“They can show us again, in every athlete,how much can be achieved in life with self discipline, concentrated effort and healthy competition.”

The Paralympics began as a small gathering of 16 British World War II veterans in 1948. Decades later, it has developed into what we know today. This year, the Paralympic games kicked off on August 29th. The closing ceremony is on September 9th. 

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