OLYMPISM: The Invisible Beauty - 1896.gr

OLYMPISM: The Invisible Beauty

What is Olympism and the Olympic values?

Olympism is much more than an umbrella-term for all the matters related to the Olympic Games and the Olympic Games Values. It is a philosophy of life. The concept of Olympism was created by the founder of the modern Olympic Games, the French Pierre de Coubertin. When Coubertin revived the Olympic Games in the late 19th Century, he had a dream: to change the world through sport. The Olympic Values were the key!

Panathenaic stadium Athens one of the symbol and Olympic Values

Could sport make the world a better place?

That is the question! Pierre de Coubertin thought that it certainly could. He believed that the Olympic Games could bring people from all over the world together, create friendships and stop wars. He was also a strong advocate of the idea of fair play. That is why he decided to bring the athletes of the world together in the first Olympic Games of modern times, in 1896.

What is the Olympic Charter and how is Olympism defined in it?

The Olympic Charter is the “Bible” or the manifesto of the Olympic Games. All the values of the Games are described in it in detail. Olympism is defined as follows: “a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles”.

You can learn more about Olympism by clicking here.

People at the Olympic Games standig up for the Olympic Values

Why are Olympic Games Values so important for the Greeks?

Greek people carry the Olympic values in their hearts, since the ideals related to Olympism go back to ancient Greece, where the ancient Olympic Games took place. That is why Greece was chosen to host the first Olympic Games of modern times, in 1896. That first edition of the Games took place at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. In the Panathenaic Stadium shop, you can nowadays find memorabilia from both the ancient as well as the modern Olympic Games.

<-The Olympic Flame Ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium.

What are the three core Olympic Games Values?

The three core Olympic values, as recognized by the International Olympic Committee, are:

  • Excellence
  • Friendship
  • Respect

What is excellence?

Excellence means to give your best self and try to improve day by day. In the Olympic Games, the most important thing is not win, but to take part. An athlete should train hard to become better and better and achieve his or her goals, both in their professional as well as in their personal lives.

Did you know?

The Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci received the first perfect 10 (the absolute score!) in the history of the sport, when she competed in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. She was just 15 years old!

Nadia Comaneci at Montreal

What is friendship?

Through sports, you can make friends for life! That is why friendship is one of the Olympic Games Values. In the Olympic Games, people from all over the world meet and create bonds which could last forever. These bonds are not only between teammates, but also between people who are competing against each other in the sports fields.

Did you know?

The Swiss Roger Federer and the Spanish Rafael Nadal are two of the top tennis players in the world. They are also considered to be two of the best players in the history of the sport. Despite their great rivalry in the court, the two athletes have a strong friendship in their everyday lives.

What is respect?

Athletes competing in the Olympic Games should respect the environment, the audience, their opponents, as well as their own selves. In the Olympic Games there should be no discrimination because of one’s gender, religion, colour, sexual orientation and disability. Athletes should also respect the rules of the sport. In fact, fair play is one of the most important aspects of the Olympic Games.

Did you know?

The black American athlete Jesse Owens is considered a symbol of the fight against discrimination. In the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games he won four gold medals. At the time, the ruler of Germany was Adolph Hitler, who believed that the white race was superior to the black one. Hitler’s belief had nothing to do with the Olympic ideals.

What are the principles of Olympism?

So, how could we use the Olympic Games values to create change? These are the principles of Olympism:

Non-Discrimination: There should not be any kind of discrimination in sports.

Sustainability: The environment and the society are central in all the actions taken by the Olympic Movement.

Humanism: People are at the heart of the Olympic Movement, since sport is considered a human right.

Universality: Sport belongs to every human being on the planet. The Olympic Movement strives to make an impact in societies and people all over the world.

Solidarity: Every society should benefit from the actions undertaken by the Olympic Movement.

Alliance between sport, education and culture. The Olympic Movement is not just about sport. Education and culture are also at its heart.

What is the Refugee Olympic Team and how is it a symbol of the Olympic Games values?

The Olympic Games are for everyone. All the top athletes of the world should have the chance to compete for a place in the biggest sports events on the globe. However, more and more athletes are nowadays forced to leave their homeland for a variety of reasons: political, religious, social and others. The refugee crisis of the 2010s, with around 65.3 million people in the world displaced, was an alarm for the International Olympic Committee. Shouldn’t these people have the chance to compete in the Olympic Games? It was this alarm that gave birth to the idea of the creation of a Refugee Olympic Team, back in 2015. One year later, the first ever Refugee Olympic Team participated in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. It consisted of 10 athletes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Ethiopia and South Sudan. The Refugee Olympic Team competed under the Olympic flag.

The Rio 2016 Games were historic for many other reasons as well. They were, for example, the first Games to take place in South America. Memorabilia from the 2016 Games could be purchased in our online collectibles store!

What about gender equality?

Only men took part in the first modern Olympic Games, which took place in Athens in 1896. The first female athletes took part in the 1900 Olympic Games, which were held in Paris. Nowadays, around 50% of the athletes taking part in the Games are woman. Since 1991, all new sports which are included in the Games programme must include women’s events. As mentioned above, respect to all people (regardless their gender, religion, race, colour and sexual orientation) is one of the core Olympic values).

You can watch a video on Olympic Games values, by clicking on this link.

Do the Winter Olympic Games have the same values as the Summer ones?

Yes! The only difference between the Summer and the Winter Olympic Games is that the Winter Olympic Games programme includes sports which take place on ice or on snow.

Memorabilia from both the Summer as well as the Winter Olympic Games could be purchased in our online The Store 1896 .

Did you know?

The Paralympic values are different from the Olympic Games Values.

How can Olympism promote peace, through the Olympic Games values?

In ancient Greece, a “truce” was announced before and during the Olympic Games. That meant that wars had to stop, so that athletes and spectators could travel safely to attend the Games. The concept of Olympic Truce was revived by the International Olympic Committee in 1992. A focus of the humanity on the Olympic Games values could certainly contribute towards a more peaceful world.

Did you know?

Despite their huge political differences, athletes from South and North Korea marched together in the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, under a unified Korean flag. They also competed with a unified women’s ice hockey team.

What do we mean by Olympic education?

As we’ ve seen, education plays a very important role in Olympism. Pierre de Courbertin, an educator himself, believed that the Olympic Games values could be a great tool for young people’s education. Olympic ideals could shape people’s personalities and build a better future for girls and boys all over the world. The Olympic values are taught to children everywhere on the globe, while Olympic education is sometimes part of the school curriculum.

Did you know?

2004 was a historic year for Greece, since Athens hosted the Olympic Games for the first time since 1896. Actually, the archery events and the finishing of the marathon race took place at the Panathenaic Stadium, where it all began in 1896. In the period before the Athens 2004 Games, Olympic Education was a part of the school curriculum in all public schools in Greece.

Memorabilia from the Athens 2004 Games could be purchased in our online The Store 1896!

So, what are the Paralympic Values?

The Paralympic Games are Games similar to the Olympic Games, but for people with all kind of disabilities. The Paralympic Games take place immediately after the Olympic Games, in the same city. The Paralympic values are:

  • Determination
  • Courage
  • Equality
  • Inspiration

The International Olympic Committee puts a lot of effort into using Olympism to create a better society. Therefore, the Olympic Games Values are of great importance.

You can learn more about the IOC’s actions and activities by clicking on this link.

Memorabilia from the Athens 2004 Games could be purchased in our online The Store 1896!

The Panathenaic Stadium full of people during the Athens Marathon – The Authentic.

The Panathenaic Stadium, flags area.

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