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The rich diversity of God's gifts

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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Commentators on the Olympics speculate as never before about the decline of the Games, wondering whether London 2012 might see the end of this extraordinary quadrennial gathering of the world's athletes.

Frank Deford suggested on National Public Radio that the "big show" might be viewed as an "unnecessary excess." He said the Games had "ended up as a festival for those sports that nobody much cares about for the other three years and 50 weeks."

In complete contrast, former Olympic track-and-field coach and Olympic historian John Lucas, who has attended every one of the Games for the past 48 years, digs beneath the surface to identify spiritual qualities and lessons he's convinced will hold the Games together for many years to come.

In an interview with the Christian Science Sentinel, Mr. Lucas unhesitatingly said that despite the world wars that canceled the Games in 1916, 1940, and 1944, and the security threats and boycotts that substantially reduced the number of competitors in Montreal in 1976, Moscow in 1980, and Los Angeles in 1984, he still believes in the dream of the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin. This was to create a truce in the affairs of nations, so that they could come together to celebrate the universality of humankind and show that participation in an event like this was more important than victory.

Coubertin saw the Games as more than an ambitious sports competition. He called for the organizers to glorify beauty by including "the philosophical arts." Hence the spectacle of the opening ceremonies and the festivals held alongside the main sports events. Coubertin believed that the rich diversity of God's gifts would flourish in a broader framework, with no one left out.

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