Oklahoma Baptist University

Student Merits Accolades in Olympic Values Essay Competition

Jimmy Manyanga

OBU junior Jimmy Manyanga, a resident of Pauls Valley, Okla., who comes from Harare, Zimbabwe, recently was named an alternate winner in the 2012 Olympic Values Essay Competition. More than 265 students from 61 countries shared their ideas about Olympic values and how to realize them through sport, culture, education and other public initiatives.

Manyanga, a pre-medicine major at OBU, wrote about the three core Olympic values –- respect, excellence and friendship -– and how there should be an effort to integrate Olympic values globally into education systems, international interactive programs and more.

“The Games are a time when we set all our disparities aside and embrace the short moment of oneness through respect for universal fundamental principles,” he wrote in his essay. “For a short time, we emulate what an ideal world looks like, and what a great people we are.”

“Awareness of Olympic values encourages passion and perseverance and a knowing that the sunrise of tomorrow brings new opportunities,” he wrote.

Manyanga said he learned of the competition, which was open to everyone in higher education worldwide, less than 24 hours before the essay deadline. The essay competition, co-supported by Worldwide Support for Development, World Faiths Development Dialogue and Georgetown University, is designed to spark a global online conversation in advance of the Olympic Values Symposium to be convened in London from June 29-July 1, 2012. As a fourth-place finisher in the competition, Manyanga will be invited to the symposium if one of the top three winners is unable to attend.

“I just thought, ‘It doesn’t hurt to put forward my ideas,’” he said. “As the sports editor for The Bison, I am used to these last minute (deadlines). I was surprised when I realized I was a finalist and finally became an alternate for the six-day trip to the Symposium and Olympic events in London. I have an ambition to be a political leader somewhere in the future, so this was a platform for me to brainstorm some ideas.”

Manyanga is involved with the Rotary Club, where he helps clean local highways, volunteers for the elderly and serves as a physics tutor. He is a member of the Rotary International and Tri-Beta honor society. He is a member of the Bison junior varsity soccer team and a member of OBU’s French Club. He was one of the three student government presidential candidates in the spring.

As noted on the competition website and elaborated in the Olympic Charter, the Olympic core values encompass “mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play” as well as “social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles,” non-discrimination, and “sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

To read Manyanga’s essay and other winning entries, click here.

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