The Olympic spirit is a microcosm for what is all good about humanity; her relentless drive towards progress, self-measured success, and wholesome unity; never more so displayed then by Jesse Owens in 1936, the Hungarian Water Polo team in 1956, and Usain Bolt in 2008. Bringing all nations together at one point of the globe every four years is a benchmark from which we subconsciously measure how far we have gone into making a more perfect world.
British support is overwhelming around team GB, so much so it brings one to tears at her success. More importantly, for a nation which strove to create the modern world in her image through empire from the U.S., to India, and the seven seas, Britain is living in the twenty-first century by absorbing all who come to her shores and creating a dynamic and evolving self-identity; best showcased by her capital city, London, and none more so exemplified than by Mo Farah, the recent British gold medalist for 10000m, a devout muslim who was born and raised up in Mogadishu, Somalia.
A nation's identity is ever evolving; neither is its expression a zero-sum game. The Olympic spirit is far ahead of its time even today, let alone in 1896, for it creates a sense of world identity which would not be unfamiliar in a generation from now as Human society becomes ever more integrated.