The world needs joy. Especially now. This is why, really, we are having these Olympics.

When Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui touched the final wall in the men’s 400-meter freestyle Sunday morning, he looked around and saw that, yes, he was first. Him. Just 18 years old. In that instant, he erupted. It looked like he might cry in amazement and disbelief. He pulled himself up onto the lane line and punched the water. A few moments later, on the medals stand, in a T-shirt and shorts marked with Tunisia’s emblems, his eyes bright, his nation’s anthem played for him — for him! — and he drank it all in, and when he took off his mask, he could be seen to be beaming in sheer joy.

This is what triumph — over everything — looks and feels like.

And this is what we — the collective we — need.

This reminder that — despite everything — we, people everywhere, can triumph. Over the many obstacles and challenges in our world. Even, especially, now.

Read more