Olympic emotions

“It was so emotional!”  That was the mother of one of the seven young athletes who lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday.

“It was really emotional.”  This was what people kept saying when they talked about the torch being carried around the country.

“It’s quite emotional.”  That was a frequent response to the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday night.

It seems like the British are getting emotional about Olympic events. If you know British people, you may be surprised. We are surprised at ourselves.

My friend and I, watching TV, looked at each other sceptically when we heard the phrase again and again. Then we watched a young man, once an energetic young soldier, struggle out of his wheelchair to carry the torch forwards, helped by his fellow soldiers, and her eyes filled with tears.

All this struggle and determination, to achieve world records, gold medals or a few steps on shattered legs, it’s getting to us.

Empathy works from our emotions, if not blocked by our more rational minds. The TV and radio coverage are also letting learn more about the stories behind the people, giving us knowledge that will last longer than the feelings. I know there are unpleasant aspects to the Olympics (more pickpockets etc) but it’s interesting how emotions raised by the Olympics are opening us to empathy.

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