By the time this edition of The Echo hits stands on Wednesday, August 10th, the 2016 Rio Olympics will be in Day 6 of international competition. Even if you’re a conscientious objector refusing to watch based on the human rights violations and economic mismanagement that have become synonymous with the Olympic machine, no doubt some news has still managed to filter through to you, whether it’s the 16-year-old Canadian swimming phenomenon, the Russian doping scandal, the Canadian men’s volleyball upset win over the States, or the 6 ft 5 in female beach volleyball player from Ontario. The mass media circus surrounding the Games is next to impossible to ignore. Notwithstanding the dark side, there is no other event that unites people and countries around the world like the Olympic Games. This year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, just over 11,000 athletes from 205 countries are participating in 206 events across 42 sport disciplines. And despite all the problems that plagued the Rio Olympics in the months, weeks and days leading up to it, the event has achieved some significant firsts: a specific team of Refugee Olympics Athletes; an Opening Ceremony with the overwhelming theme of protecting the environment and healing the planet (for the first time in Olympic history, the multi-coloured Olympics rings were presented in green); a doubling of Saudi female athletes (from two to four; women in Saudi Arabia are not allow to play sports so these athletes rely on special invitations from the International Olympics Committee); and the first time the Summer Olympics have been held in South America with hopefully a positive spin-off like what the 2010 Winter Games gave Canada. But for now, the universal story of the human spirit is the focus of the world’s attention so if the agony and ecstasy have drawn you in, just sit back and enjoy the peaceful international community that you’re a part of until August 21st.