Given the current world’s economic crisis due to Covid19 you would think the Olympics would be the last thing to suggest. However, the Olympics has become a symbol of unity and overcoming the challenges of Covid19.
Bearing this in mind, Tokyo is attempting to pull the Summer Olympics backs together. In a recent statement, the Olympic Committee announced it was intending to hold the events regardless of the current Covid19 situation. But with current restrictions, the games would have no spectators.
Olympics versus world competition
Which forces one to reflect and examine ’what separates the Olympics from a World Competition?’
Both involve the elite but only the World qualifies them for the Olympics, not the other way round. There appears to be nothing higher than Olympic status and yet one could argue that winning the Worlds could be worth the same as winning the Olympics.
Unlike World events, the Olympics has the trump drawcard when it comes to spectators because it brings the current world's best players together in the same country at the same time. Athletes spend their entire lives striving to one day stand at the opening ceremony representing their country.
So would the Olympics still hold all its prestige without the fans?
For the first time in history, the Olympics may have to run virtually. Yes, they have been live streaming events but without the crowds, the players face competing in silence.
As part of preparing for competitions, athletes are encouraged to develop mental strategies to cope with the crowds but now they will have to learn to hype themselves up without the roar of the spectators.
It’s easy to forget how much of an impact fans have on events. They come from all corners of the globe with a passion to see the world's best battle it out for the gold. As an athlete that has been to 3 World Championships, I know that having even just one fan supporting you at an event that is being held in a foreign country, makes a big difference.
To know someone has chosen to travel and support you to succeed definitely provides a much-needed boost of confidence in crucial moments. To see the New Zealand flag being waved from the sidelines and hear claps of encouragement after delivering a vital shot helps you to keep your nerve and reminds you to not give up.
Without physical presence
So if the Olympics does go ahead, how can we support our players to perform at their best?
Without our physical presence, how do we make athletes feel encouraged? As a Christian this question evokes a real appreciation for what God has taught us and how he loves us, because he has shown us how to love and support one another without needing to be physically present.
The gospel is overflowing with examples of the different ways in which God provides encouragement for us and how we can encourage one another.
We see examples of God's provision in Exodus chapter 3, verse 10 to chapter 4, verse 21, the benefits of having godly mentorship in Deuteronomy chapter 31 and the importance of sharing the stories and testimonies we have in Joshua chapter 2, verse 3-14.
Whilst these examples are not sporting specific, they can easily be transferred to help us support our fellow Christian athletes.
It is important to remember we are designed in such a way that we do not have to purely rely on physical presence but we have a spiritual and mental element as well that we can rely on in times of need.
Mhairi-Bronté Duncan plays Curling for New Zealand and uses her experiences as an athlete to inspire her writing.