10 inspiring Olympic moments (video)

Rafaela Silva was born in Cidade de Deus, one of Rio de Janeiro’s sprawling favelas. If it weren’t for judo, Ms. Silva might never have left.

She found the sport through a program designed to keep low-income children off the streets. Judo took Ms. Silva to competitions around the world – from Bangkok to Paris to London.

And then it took her home, where Ms. Silva earned the first of Brazil’s seven gold medals at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio. To a country of more than 200 million, she had become an inspiration.

Why We Wrote This

The Olympic Games display athletic prowess and the resiliency of the human spirit. There may be no Summer Games this year, but great Olympic moments are worth revisiting – especially those that broke physical, cultural, and racial barriers.

It’s stories like Ms. Silva’s that draw nearly 200 million people to watch the Olympics every four years, says David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians. Sports are about stories, he says, and there is no greater chapter than the Olympics. 

Even for the smallest country, “it’s a chance to be part of the world,” says Mr. Wallechinsky.

Since the modern games began in 1896, athletes have used them to break barriers, sometimes doing what entire countries could not.

Despite the postponed 2020 Tokyo Games, the Olympic spirit continues, biding its time until athletes can safely assemble. Until then, Olympic fans can reflect back on those who came before.

This summer, the Monitor did just that. Here are some of our favorite Olympic moments.

Editor's note: A previous version of this video included two images that were not verified to be Wilma Rudolph as a child.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.