17 april 2019

Bring back the Olympics

Let me take you back seven years. I’m sitting in my living room (capacity: 10) with my family. Our eyes, like those of 900 million others worldwide, were glued to the tele. We watched as the London Olympic Stadium (capacity: 66,000) exploded with light, colour, noise, and spectacle. The Isles of Wonder display, directed by Danny Boyle, was a fitting opening for a summer of sport in London that inspired millions, both within the UK and worldwide. I distinctly recall the almost tangible, electric energy in the air that summer, and it fuelled a sense of genuine national pride that contrasted sharply with the characteristically pessimistic and dry view that us British hold of ourselves and our country. Watching Mo Farah, the Brownlee brothers, Nicola Adams, Rebecca Adlington, and all the other exceptionally hard-working people who represented Great Britain made me feel part of a community that stretched from Land’s End to John O’ Groats.

Moving to Amsterdam has removed me from my own culture and allowed me to reflect on it as an outlier

When compared to the alienation felt by many from one another, their representatives in Parliament, and our neighbours in Europe, I cannot help but wonder where this trajectory is taking us. Moving to Amsterdam has removed me from my own culture and allowed me to reflect on it as an outlier—but it has also given me great hope for the near future. The sense of community and belonging I have experienced here in the melting-pot of university life is strikingly similar to the atmosphere I felt in the summer of 2012. The pro-Remain demonstration on March 23rd was attended by over one million people, and my friends at home tell me of the jubilation they felt at seeing so many people united in peaceful protest—especially over such an important issue.

I’m hopeful. It seems that even amongst the political chaos and confusion, there are many people in the UK demonstrating (in both senses of the word) that they want to play a larger part in the European community. There is no use waiting for the next Olympics to come around—we have to find the little things that connect us in everyday life. We need to appreciate the value of coming together and recognise that in doing so the way is paved for bigger and better opportunities.

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