The Olympic Games: Galvanizing toward Unity

So, I have been thinking about this since the Olympics began last week. I always seem to be particularly moved by the stories and the struggles of the athletes when they start, and specifically patriotic towards my Canada. I realized the Olympics are a great way to unite the people of a country, and even strangers from other lands through the shared experience of watching an athlete through his/her journey. From watching that person struggle and then achieve their greatest dream, or not. There is a common journey that the viewer and the athlete go through at specific moments of these games, and this is what seeks to unite us as fans of the Olympics.

Having found an art activity online, my teaching staff and I decided we would recreate that unity with art for our students.We used the Olympic symbol of the 5 coloured and interlocked rings to teach our students the value of the unifying power of the games.

We painted students’ hands with one of each of the 5 colours of the rings (black, red, yellow, blue and green), and had them put their hand prints onto blank sheets of paper, as below:

Then, we collected our students hand prints in different colours and cut them out separately. This was done for ease of making out final product. We figured that we could have more control over the potential messes that would be caused, if each child did his/her hand print separately.

Then, the teaching staff got on our hands and knees and painted a large sheet of white paper, as below. Now, this can also be done on a white sheet, or a large white canvas.


We decided, we, the teaching staff, would also include our hand prints, and since we were an odd number, one of our teachers made a hand print of 5 different colours that was included ahead of “Rio”, below.


The final product came together when we glued all the coloured hand prints onto the respective coloured rings.


This activity focused on not just the theme of the Olympic Games but a way to show our students the unity inherent in sharing common experiences. A shared experience like living in the same country, speaking the same language and living similar lifestyles despite, (as is the case in Canada) being a very multicultural fabric of people. Over the past week, our students have learned about the different countries participating in the games, and how to identify their respective flags. A tall feat for a lot of our 3 – 5 age range.

And that is the power of these games. Not just to go forth and be the best you can after you have trained and trained for years, but also to galvanize peoples toward a common experience where they can relate to each other, even if it is for a few weeks every 4th summer.


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