As I write this note, I beg your indulgence to say I am Kenyan born, living in the USA. I love sports and has taken part in a number of them. Indeed there is nothing as unifying as sports. We are in the Olympics season and history teaches that the world get to be one-at least for a few weeks.
Watching the opening ceremony in London, what amazed me was not the pomp and the dazzles of the choreographed script. What made me tear up was seeing nations, all nations that we can think of walk by, waving their national flags and all happy and smiling to be part of the games. From small nations like Bhutan, Islands like St. Kitts, powerhouses like Great Britain, USA and Russia to countries in the forgotten corners of the world, the Olympics has made all of us equals. Moreover, countries ravaged by war like Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Sudan and Central Africa Republic were showing a brighter side. It does not matter where you hail from. I cheered even countries I have never heard of!
Jesse Owens perhaps is the greatest Olympian to ever grace the games. I say so not because he won many medals but because he chose a path of peace and sportsmanship even when stuck against the odds. Here is a man who was competing with a German in the Triple Jump event, in the presence of Adolf Hitler, but chose to give tips to his competitor on how to improve on his jump. And after Jesse won the event, he held his nemesis's hand and jogged around the stadium accepting salutes from the fans!
We have seen worlds that do not see each other eye to eye in the real world compete. We have seen sports make what seems impossible be possible. We have seen super-powers beaten by minnows. In a nutshell, the Olympics is a pointer to the fact that we all need to co-exist.
As I look forward to the events, I cannot forget the rivalries (sporting) that the games will bring with them. I look forward to watching India play Pakistan in Hockey. I look forward to Jamaican Usain Bolt take on American Tyson game in 100m dash. I cannot wait for Kenyans and Ethiopians to exercise their rivalry in the middle and long distance races. There is so much to look forward to.
But more than that, I hope the unity the games bring will last and we shall all live like brothers and sisters