I have mixed feelings about many aspects of the Olympics, but one event above all others always fascinates and moves me: the March of Nations at the opening of the games. This ceremony gives me the illusion that peace in the world is possible.

This year 204 nations marched in one after the other.

It’s the only occasion on our blue planet where people from so many countries come together in one place.

Men and women from all corners of the globe defile past 3 billion viewers.

Marching healthy, happy and smiling.

It’s a surreal thought that all the wars, all the bloodshed, all the trouble in the history of humankind, has taken place between the compatriots, past and present, of the defiling representatives of these 204 nations.

But then again so has all the love, friendship and understanding.

In the background of the stadium, 204 nations planted their flags on a small grass clad hill. One by one. Until all 204 colourful flags were there. Peacefully side by side.

What a wonderful illusion.

Or dare I say – what a wonderful fragile hope?





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