Originally Published on OpEdNews
Olympics, Change Your Winning Ethic From Top Down to Bottom Up to make better Olympians and better inspired fans and audiences
The Olympics is an extraordinary, event. Olympians inspire us all with their determination, dedication and passion for their sport and excellence. But this unique competition could be bottom up restructured to produce a richer, deeper experience with millions more having skin in the game.
For instance, Olympic athletes should be rewarded with the opportunity to shine a portion of their spotlight, whether they win or not, on their selected cause, project or organization and on their choice of artists and or musicians of their nation.
Winning is a very personal thing. An individual focuses intensely and so passionately it's almost a mad obsession. It could manifest as top down, authoritarian, domination, narcissism. And currently, medal winners feed the idea of nationalism, which is a kind of "WE" thinking that is more top down than bottom up, with boundaries, separation and"power over" baked in.
But the attention and visibility winning brings could be used, in a bottom up way, through the fans and people inspired by the athletes, to help good causes, organizations and people doing good, so Olympians have a "WE" attitude towards competing and winning, which goes beyond personal victory.
I envision an Olympic culture where part of the process of qualifying as an Olympian includes a number of hours a month dedicated to volunteer and advocate work for organizations, causes, projects and people doing good. Some of the work would be required to be with 99%ers, ie., regular, non-wealthy people. The athletes would do it with a video camera, to record and archive the work. This would make the Olympians much more conscious of the way most of the people in the world live. Such bottom up experience and wisdom can be programmed into the Olympics, providing connection consciousness (awareness of all the connections to people, society and nature) so Olympians use their top down personal wins to make a bottom up difference.
When Olympians win medals, the causes they've embraced go up on the winners stand with them-- an actual person, a video, or a photo with a website link. Part of the joy of an Olympian win would be the knowledge that they would be helping people they've worked with who are doing good. It's a nobler win than simply a personal victory.
Perhaps most important, by working with people who benefit from their help, Olympians will change their relationship to winning, making the accomplishment about the extended community they've invested their time in. Winning will help the Olympians. But the volunteer work will give something to the people the Olympians work with. Olympians have a work ethic, dedication, commitment, perseverance, passion, courage to take risks-- and will set great examples of high integrity for all they deal with.
Olympian become what Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell calls "influencers" as well as leaders. Spending their Olympic careers investing time in helping others will build empathy that will translate into the way they influence and lead.
"I want to be an inspiration for those who think they can't do it."
Simone Manuel, upon becoming first black to win a gold swimming medal
Simone Manuel gets the idea of making her win about more than herself. Good. It would be even better if connection consciousness deepening experiences and time spent each month would be required. If required of all Olympians, the cost of practice hours would be evened out for all competitors.