Humanist Values and the Olympics

The Olympics remind us every four years how resilience, discipline, goal-setting, confidence, and other wholesome human values can pay off. It makes sense that these kinds of games were an important part of humanist culture in antiquity in almost every Greek city: they certainly help to promote good human values in young people.

But recent events concerning enmity between certain countries (the usual suspects) also highlight the general view that the Olympics are a time for healthy and friendly competition, even camaraderie, between opponents, as opposed to the immature behavior we saw this year when Egypt’s wrestler El Shehaby refused to shake his opponent’s hand after losing to an Israeli. He later refused to apologize.

This is not the first time an Egyptian wrestler misbehaves on the ring with an Israeli wrestler. In 2013 the female wrestler Enas Mostafa, also of Egypt, was also suspended from the Olympics after she bit her Israeli opponent and made her bleed during their fight.

The Olympic Committee is right to treat these athletes as the sore losers that they are. If these international games were really the type of stage where their brand of old, stale, brutal, fanatical hatred is to be acted out and celebrated, they would be barbaric and would not be worth watching or supporting in any way. The Olympics are a celebration of human prowess and ability to thrive, but they’re also stages for ladies and for gentlemen. Not everyone deserves a chance to be an Olympian.


About hiramcrespo

Hiram Crespo is the author of 'Tending the Epicurean Garden' and founder of He's also written for The Humanist, Eidolon, Occupy, The New Humanism, The Secular Web, Europa Laica, AteístasPR, and many other outlets.
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One Response to Humanist Values and the Olympics

  1. Mi agradecimiento y felicitación por este artículo, tan oportuno y acertado. Ojalá que algún día esos valores de humanidad, entre los ya mencionados, sean baremo indispensable y tenidos en cuenta para participar y ejemplo a seguir.


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