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The Time Has Finally Come!
Written by Milorad Cavic   
Saturday, 09 August 2008
The Olympics are finally here and it has begun! The moment I have dreamed about for so long is only days away, and with the Olympics underway, my excitement is growing by the day. I can’t express to you all in words the emotions I am going through each and every day, its just an incredible experience being a part of this.

I’d like to share a small story with you all… Yesterday I had the privilege of having dinner with the world’s best female tennis player, Ana Ivanovic, and her conditional trainer Scott Byrnes (from Australia). It was 1 hour before the Serbian representatives were to gather in front of our building so that we could all leave for the opening ceremony. Ana was in a bit of a rush to eat, but Scott was not since he chose not to be apart of the ceremony. I asked him “why not?” and he responded, “I just don’t feel like I deserve to be a part of the ceremony, I’m not Serbian, I’m Australian.” To this, I thought, “well, yeah you’re not Serbian, but that’s not what the opening ceremony or the Olympics are about.”

To further elaborate on this thought, I suppose you have to somewhat “breakdown” the origins and true meaning of the Olympics. Everyone has his or her own opinion of what this is, but to me, the Olympic Games are the celebration of humanity and the celebration of internationalism, through the celebration of sports. This isn’t as much about patriotism or nationalism as it is about the world coming together, in one city, to show each other how far we have progressed as a human race – physically, technologically, and artistically. I’d be a hypocrite to say that politics have no place in sports, because the truth is, there is as much, if not more political activity in sports, as there is outside of sports… and every athlete knows this contrary to what the world would have them believe. But my point is, in the Olympic village and in every Olympic venue, there exists a harmony or an energy among all of the athletes, which politics cannot touch. Yes, I proudly wear my country’s name on my clothing, as do you, with whichever country you represent, but so what? As an athlete, you’re just a person who enjoys life the same way that your athletic peers do. Where you come from or what your shirt says doesn’t change the game you play. Because you’re from Germany for example, and I’m a Serb who grew up in America, doesn’t distinguish your technique in swimming from the others. You’re a man, and so am I. We’re people, you and I, and we compete. At the end of the day, the country you compete for, or the medal you win, is just a statistic in SPORTS history. I’m trying to say that the Olympics are not about choosing sides. There are no sides really… you’re either an Olympian, or your not, and those are the only sides that really exist. You’re either a part of the Olympic family, or you’re not. So, to conclude this thought, I’d like to say, “Scott, I don’t know you very well, but you do coach the best tennis player in the world. You as an Australian who helped a Serb become the best there is… and that is what the world should be about – helping each other move forward. That’s what, in effect, the Olympics are about: Internationalism and pushing the limits of humanity. You should have every right to celebrate your life’s work in the one place which advocates the relationship you have as a professional.”

To step in another direction, it is an honor to meet my country’s best athletes all in one place once again after 4 years – this is something only the Olympics could do. The power of this competition and being around the best of the world’s best is unbelievable… it is here which every man and woman, has the chance to truly say that they’re around like-minded people. We live for sports, this is our life.

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