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The modern Olympics represent one of the few times when people from all over the world not only compete peacefully together, but watch or listen together as a global audience. The competing athletes and their teams form bonds that often last a lifetime, and the audiences seeing them have a chance to learn about other cultures, as many profiles are aired about the host city or area during the Games.

There are often opportunities provided by the Games that extend beyond sports. For example, the just-concluded Winter Olympics had South and North Korean athletes competing as one team, and there is at least a possibility that the door may have cracked open for additional talks; this coming at a time when tensions have been extremely high.

Again using the 2018 Winter Games as an example, the open acknowledgement by a number of athletes (notably Americans Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy) of their LGBTQ sexual identities and the media attention this received makes it easier for other athletes worldwide to do the same, and by extension, other non-celebrities as well.

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In order to understand the significance of the Olympics, it is vital that we first examine some of the history of the Olympics.  According to the official website of the Olympics, the first ancient Olympic games occurred in the year 776 BC, and though the modern Olympics began much later, generally, events that have that type of longevity are culturally significant traditions with timelines that predate most modern nations.  For instance, consider that the Olympic games are currently approximately 2,792 years old, while our nation, the United States, is just 240 years old. The Olympics are an event with a lot of history behind them.

Now let us consider the number of nations that generally compete in the Olympics.  The countries competing may have disputes militarily, economically, or socially, yet these countries are competing against one another on the same stage.  As time progressed, so did the number of countries participating in the Olympics.  For instance, the 1920 Olympics saw just 24 countries compete.  The 2012 Olympics, on the other hand, had 204 countries represented by over 10,000 athletes in 300 events.

Imagine the amount of pride winning a specific Olympic event brings to one's country, considering that most nations on our planet are represented.  This honor proves that one's country is distinguished in a certain event or activity, and it is for these reasons that the Olympics are important in our global culture and society.   

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