Letter: Denver song embodies Olympic spirit | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Denver song embodies Olympic spirit

Denver song embodies Olympic spirit

It greatly saddens my heart to notice the contrast between the 1984 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo, when John Denver wrote “The Gold and Beyond,” and what is going on now in the lead-up to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

“On a snow crystal morning, some place close to heaven,

On the side of a mountain, in a race for the sun,

In a matter of moments, the dream of a lifetime is won.”

My sadness comes partly from the Russian government’s criminalization of homosexuality. It also comes from noticing how far religious extremists are from living up to even half of the ideals mentioned in the song that John presented to the world 30 years ago.

“There’s a fire in the heart, and it feels like a hunger.

The spirit is burning, consumed by the flame.

To be one of the best of the best in the world is its name.

To go faster and farther than anyone ever before.

To be braver and stronger and truer, and then even more.

To give all that you can be, and all that you’ve ever longed for!”

I don’t want anyone or any group or government to be “wiped off the face of the Earth,” as some Palestinians have said they want in regard to Israelis. I don’t want to persecute religious extremists for their lack of tolerance of those who differ from them.

I do want the people who think they have a duty to convert everyone else to their way of thinking to raise their consciousness enough to see that under the skin we are all the same.

“In the eyes of the mountain, all people are equal.

In the eyes of all people, our soul can be seen.

In the course of our struggle, we’ll know what humanity means.

To give all that you can be, and all that you’ve ever longed for!”

Our human essence is spiritual, whether we are religious or non-religious. We are all one, and we are all in this material world together.

The Olympic Games should always be one time and one place where surface differences do not matter.

At the Olympics, athletes are neither gay nor straight, neither political nor religious. At the Olympics, we are all simply human beings, with the same hopes and dreams.

“We gather together, to face one another.

We gather in silence, to sing for the sun.

We gather in peace … to go for the gold and beyond!”

To get the full effect of the song, you really need to hear both the lyrics and the music!