Since the last Olympic Games, in the summer of 2016, the U.S. as a whole has endured enough to break the patriotic spirits of many around the country. An ever-growing tumultuous political climate has polarized and divided the country leaps and bounds.
That is why, this year the Americans competing in the Winter Olympics will have more riding on their shoulders, as they will have the opportunity to put the “United” back in the United States of America.
This year, American Olympians are freestyle skiing for the victims of gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, many of whom are Olympians in their own right.
This year, American Olympians are bobsledding for the people of Florida and Texas, who have had their lives turned upside-down by the particularly powerful storms during the 2017 hurricane season.
This year, American Olympians are curling to show that despite all of the conflicts and protests in the streets, our nation is not defined by social injustices or police brutality.
This year, American Olympians are figure skating to show that the mass shootings in Orlando and Las Vegas will not break our American spirits.
This year, American Olympians are ski jumping on behalf all of the voices who stood up to their abusers and claimed their spot in history as a part of the #MeToo movement.
This year, American Olympians are snowboarding for the more than 64,000 people who overdosed on drugs in 2016 alone and the thousands of others who are still affected by the opioid crisis today.
This year, American Olympians are playing hockey to show that the insensitivities of online personalities such as Logan Paul are not a universal truth for the rest of the country.
This year, American Olympians are cross-country skiing so it is clear that the country is more unified than the debate about standing or kneeling for the national anthem implies.
This year, American Olympians are participating in the biathlon to show that the hate-filled rallies in Charlottesville do not represent the thought processes of all who call this nation home.
This year, above all, American Olympians are competing in the 2018 Winter Olympic games so that it is made clear to the whole world that our patriotism cannot and will not be broken.
Come tomorrow morning, the Olympians competing such as Nathan Chen (figure skating), Abby Ringquist (ski jumping) and Shaun White (snowboarding) will serve not only as some of the best athletes that the nation has to offer, but also as the unifying forces that our nation so desperately needs.
Jesse Stokes is a sophomore majoring in political science.