Aside from women's gymnastics, my favorite part of the Olympics has always been the Parade of Nations. It's so exciting to see so many nations come together in one arena, all here in the same spirit of goodwill. There's immense national pride for each country, but more warming is this sense of overwhelming global community. I think Rio's opening ceremony also beautifully portrayed both these sentiments, because it showed us Brazil's enchanting and vibrant culture, and it rang loudly a global message of unity.
It's exciting seeing all these Olympians come out to represent their country--the excitement and pride on their faces is contagious. Yet, it's one thing to see a team like Germany or the United States with many athletes to represent their country across events, but when I see those countries with one or two or three representatives I am filled with even more love I just want to hug them. What an amazing accomplishment. Still more exciting is Saudi women walking the parade to represent Saudi Arabia, because it makes me proud as a woman and as a global citizen. This Olympic is only the second time Saudi Arabia has allowed female athletes at the Olympics, because the Human Rights Watch pushed the IOC to make it a condition to allow Saudi Arabia to participate in the 2012 Olympics in London. See what we can do when we stand together?
Then of course, I was moved to tears when the first ever Refugee Olympic Team came out. What a beautiful sight. Again, see what can happen when we stand together? Click here, if you missed it, or just want to re-watch it.
Well, now that the Summer Olympics in Rio have officially kicked off, may the athletes and their families, and all those attending the games and events have a safe and fun time in Rio, and may the spirit of competition and unity reign. Let the games begin!
BIG LOVE & HUGS