London 2012 Olympics – Anyone For Olympism?


It’s 2012 and here comes the London Oympics, but what about Olympism – the reason  the Olympics exist? Olympism was founded by the ancient Greeks. They actively encouraged citizens to develop all of their physical, moral, intellectual, cultural and artistic qualities.

Olympics St Pancrass 3Olympics St Pancrass 4Olympic Rings at  St Pancrass and the poet, Sir John Betjeman, is amazedOlympics St Pancrass 7

London’s St Pancras Station


The Olympic Games celebrated this with the Olympic Games festival involving athletes, artists and scholars from different cultural fields. Sport, art, educational and cultural activities were blended.


Modern Olympism
The modern Olympic Movement was started in 1894 by Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin.  He resurrected the ancient Greek ideals and gave them to the rest of the world when he staged the first ‘modern’ Olympic Games  in 1896 in Greece’s  newly reconstructed Panathenean Stadium (originally created in 330BC).

Olympism blends sport with culture and education, and most importantly, Olympism promotes a peaceful way of life which usessport to promote the balanced development of people as an essential step in building a peaceful society that places a high value on human dignity’.  In fact the Olympic Movement believes ‘sport is an invaluable means of

  • educating people,
  • cultivating aesthetic and
  • moral values,
  • fostering friendships
  • among young people, and
  • bringing people from different nations closer together.’

See our new video  ‘Anyone for Olympism – the real Olympic dream?’ (just published before the Olympics start).  See also ‘What is the role of Sport in The Olympics?

So hopefully, we’ll see some true Olympism (sportsmanship) in London Olympics 2012 just like we did in 1908 (Queen Alexander), 1932 (Judy Guinness, fencing), 1936 (Karl Lutz Long, long jump), 1952 (Zatopek, 5k & 10k runner), 1956 (Takhti, wrestler), 1960 (Rudolph, sprinter), 1968 (Akhwari, marathon), 1976 (Fujimoto, gymnast), 1988 (Lemieux, sailing) 1992 (Derek Redmond, 400m), 1994 (Jensen & Koss, speed skaters), 2004 (Cordeiro de Lima, marathon), 2006 (Hakensmoen, Ski-ing), 2008 (Junquan, swimmer). Full stories in the Great Moments Of Sportsmanship eBook (& printed book). Free Sportsmanship Workbook & Tutor’s Guide available for schools also.

See also:

Olympism – The Real Olympic Dream (video)

How London 2012 Became The Friendly Olympics (backstage photographs form the Olympic volunteers)

10 thoughts on “London 2012 Olympics – Anyone For Olympism?

  1. Your whole concept on ‘Sportsmanship’, is truly wonderful, and heart warming, and should be embraced by all !! Bring on hopefully a drug free Olympics in London 2012.

  2. Thank you Martin. Why not drug test ALL medal winners so that we are guaranteed clean winners. Or maybe they are doing this already? Does anyone know?

  3. It is an honourable desire to encourage fellow citizens to develop their physical, moral, intellectual, cultural and artistic qualities to improve society and global harmony – sport is a universal language that has been proven to make an unconscious (subliminal) difference when applied to nations. In the UK we’ve recently had riots, anti-religious activity and discrimination (based on age, race or even which gang you are a member of); there has not been a greater need for such a vision which directly addresses many of the problems in our schools, homes and on our streets! With the 2012 Olympics in London, its awareness and coverage provides a great opportunity for a short-term event to make a lasting difference. There is much to be said about participation in sport (school and workplace) to encourage team building skills, and for an individual to be a part of something where team work, striving, competition and results are rewarded.

    The issues we face in society today are not significantly different from the days of Ancient Greece. For many, watching Gladiators and sporting events was entertainment or a distraction from everyday troubles; however, the concept of Olympism could have far greater a legacy within this country and be a flag which the government could raise under which young and old could gather and learn the values that are no longer common in the classroom or home. I’ve read ‘Great Moments of Sportsmanship’, and was inspired and encouraged – excellent work!

  4. Excellent comment Kelvin. Interestingly, I am about to produce a short video on Olympism and its values, which hopefully will inspire many, before, during and long after London 2012.

  5. Is it possible to obtain the Free Sportsmanship Workbook & Tutor’s Guide available for schools please?

    BR1 2TY

    many thanks,

    • Yes Christine – let me have your email address – I won’t publish it ! In the email you might tell what age group you are targeting and any other info so I can possibly help you . Paul

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