There is something neat about this, and I think it’s a big reason a lot of people enjoy watching the Olympics. The lure of it, at first, seems to be rooted in competition – not just of world-class athletes, but of the countries themselves. Everyone can identify with competition, and some identify strongly with nationalism as well.

But when the crowds are done cheering, when the numbers are counted and medals assigned, you are left with bunch of people, the best at what they do, being very decent to each other. There is a optimistic, almost-utopian quality to that. It’s reassurance that even the zenith of competition can result in a bit of harmony.

Few things make feel me so at peace.

Meritocracy at its best. 

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