War-torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan may not be able to afford their Olympic athletes good conditions, but their attendance in the Games itself has justified their dreams of transcending themselves to a better future, says an article in Beijing News. The following is an excerpt:
If you did not witness Iraqi athletes' performance in the Games, you may never understand how tough a nation can be in striving against calamities.
For Iraqi competitors, there was no uniform but only old T-shirts, second-hand track shoes, and rented rowing boats. And so did Afghan sprinter Massoud Azizi, who had been preparing for the Games on a concrete track every day, regardless of great potential harms the track might have caused to his body.
Truly, countries like Iraq and Afghanistan can hardly be on the spotlight if judged only by the number of medals. However, their dreams for happiness and efforts in winning glory should not be ignored.
Keeping up the attempt to transcend oneself is the key value of the Olympic spirit, which means not only being physically stronger, faster and higher, but also surpassing mental and psychological limits.
Athletes, from Iraq, Afghanistan and some other countries that are also witnessing troubles, have proved their bravery in facing material impoverishment and their ambition to change the status quo by joining in the Games. Off the courts, they may have much poorer materials; on the field, they were just as confident as other competitors.
Military and financial powers can win a country its position of strength in the international community. But to win respect, its citizens must possess self-esteem and have dreams for happiness - dreams that fill its civil life with dignity.
As our athletes also experienced similar difficulties in the past, let us just stand up and cheer for those who never abandon their dreams despite enduring adversity.