If the Olympic Games ever served a true altruistic purpose, they have long since outlived it. Yeah, the pursuit of athletic excellence, sportsmanship and international goodwill is plenty noble. But the modern Olympics are at best a vehicle for agitprop; at worst, a scandal magnet.
The Olympic Games are highly commercialised. They purport to follow the traditions of an ancient athletics competition, but today it is the commercial aspect that is most apparent. I have seen how, through sport, cities and corporations compete against each other for financial gain.
It is the inspiration of the Olympic Games that drives people not only to compete but to improve, and to bring lasting spiritual and moral benefits to the athlete and inspiration to those lucky enough to witness the athletic dedication.
Hosting the Olympic Games of course guarantees the world's attention, but there is more to it than simply bathing in the global spotlight. Most importantly, host cities can use the opportunity to create a positive and lasting legacy, resulting in both tangible and intangible returns to local communities.
Sport allows us to engage in dialogue and to build bridges, and it may even have the capacity to reshape international relations. The Olympic Games embody perfectly this universal mission.