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.
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.
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 uses ‘sport 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.’
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.
How London 2012 Became The Friendly Olympics (backstage photographs form the Olympic volunteers)