For once we could pretend to believe in a legend and maybe make it come true. For example, one could accept the historical reconstruction according to which all wars were suspended during the ancient Olympic Games. In reality it seems that the truce concerned only the place where the competitions took place. It was a question of safety. Perhaps de Coubertin knew this but by founding the Olympics again in modern times he gave himself a higher purpose: to foster understanding between peoples in order to lay the foundations for a more peaceful world. In his radio speech given on the eve of the 1936 Berlin Games Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, known today as Pierre de Coubertin, explicitly referred to the tense political climate of the time, hoping for a change of course and emphasizing that "Humanity would be happy if, as in the days of ancient Greece, in the midst of a war, the enemy armies interrupted their battles for a moment, so as to celebrate and honor the Olympic Games».

Eighty-five years later athletes from all over the world find themselves in Japan participating in the games that were to take place last year. They are healthy specimens, used to overcoming obstacles and yielding determination since that is their job. Now it is we who must "demonstrate the same strength and solidarity in our efforts to give peace to the world". Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres reminded us of this by stating that the principle of the Olympic truce as well as representing "a traditional call for the cessation of all war activity during the games" is an opportunity "to establish a lasting ceasefire and to find ways that lead to sustainable peace ». In short, first you stop shooting for a fixed time, then you talk, you get to know each other, you understand that it is unnecessary, and you let the guns rust. 

An opportunity to establish lasting ceasefires and aim for sustainable peace 

After all, sport is for this. If the competitions are not used as opportunities for meeting between different cultures, they simply become a moment in which you time who is faster, measure who throws a weight or javelin the furthest, check who has jumped the highest and who has thrown themselves forward the furthest on a rectangle of smoothed out sand. It is a wonderful moment for those who win, but rather insignificant for humanity. We measure, we cheer and get excited, and then we remember that the aim is "to seek peace and unite around common goals", an even more pressing issue "as we struggle to put an end to the pandemic and create a strong, sustainable and inclusive recovery".

Guterres asked all parties in conflict "to observe the truce during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, and to nurture it in the weeks and months that follow." Let's take it seriously. The ancients did not manage to do so and left us the legacy of a quarrelsome world. For once we could try to do better than them.

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