United Daily News: What flame did the Universiade light?

2017/08/30 20:17:35 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
United Daily News: What flame did the Universiade light?

The Taipei Summer Universiade, which ended on Aug. 30, seemed to be a gift from heaven for Taiwan. Although the opening ceremony was marred by protests, the society bonded in support of the sports event, thanks to the remarkable performances by Taiwan's athletes.

The Taiwanese athletes brightened the home stadium with 26 gold medals over the 12-day period. Gymnast Lee Chih-kai (李智凱), star of the documentary "Jump! Boy," won gold in the pommel horse event, executing a magnificent Thomas Flair.

Lee's achievement highlighted the benefits of fostering sports at the grassroots level and it lit a "Spirit of Sport," which drew people from around the country to attend the Universiade. Suddenly, Universiade tickets became hot cakes.

The success of the Taipei Universiade proves that Taiwan is capable of organizing international sports events, but what profound meaning does it have?

Some have said it was worth spending NT$20 billion (US$663.5 million) on the Universiade because it elevated Taiwan nationalism to the highest level ever. However, we think it is dangerous to ignite a sense of nationalism rather than a sporting spirit.

The Taiwan public has focused only on the performance of the local athletes. The scant reporting on the performance of the foreign teams is an indication that Taiwanese care more about themselves than others.

No one has even considered whether the Taiwanese team would have performed differently if China had participated in the Universiade, or whether the Taiwanese public would have been gracious hosts to the Chinese athletes.

We thank all the athletes for their brilliant performance at the Univerisade, which gave people 10 days of light, during which "sports dominated and politics abdicated."

If only the Universiade had lit a spirit of "pursuing excellence though constant training and seeking victory by means of fair competition," instead of igniting narcissistic nationalism. Editorial abstract, Aug. 30, 2017

(By Elizabeth Hsu)

Share on Facebook  Share on twitter  Share by email  Share on Google+