Pierre De Coubertin, the founder of the Modern Olympics, devoted all his tremendous energy and intellectual brilliance to the establishment of the ideological foundation of the Modern Olympics, incorporating a profound humanistic dimension into ancient Greek sportsmanship. Today, some one hundred years later, the Modern Olympics is striding forward along the pathway envisaged by himĄ
The vision of Pierre De Coubertin--let the Olympics bridges the world together
To understand the ideological and philosophical concepts that sustained the Modern Olympic Games through the bulk of its 100 year history, one needs to learn to appreciate the visionary thoughts of the remarkable educationist, Pierre De Coubertin--observes John Lucas III, a renowned Olympic historian.
Pierre was an expert on ancient Greek culture and history. In particular, he was fascinated by the notion of "holy armistice" devised by ancient Olympics. It was his firm belief that sports was an effective way to restore momentum to moral forces and that an internationalized sports event would bridge the world together where different nations could be guided towards harmonious co-existence and learn to respect one another in competition.
He hoped that Olympism would become a school bringing together athletic training and the cultivation of "pure heart" . Later, Pierre invested this concept with extra meanings such as a cultural pursuit of physical prowess, world peace, the cult of enterprising spirit and harmony and the quest for self-transcendence and self-restraint, etc. All of these sought to promote the world peace and, to the benefit of the entire human race, a harmonious development between the body and the spirit.
In the wake of six years hard lobbying, the resolution to found the International Olympic Committee was finally adopted between 16--24 June, 1894. It approved the Olympic Charter drafted by Pierre and demanded that, from 1896 onwards, an Olympic Games be held every four years.
The Olympics--a novel and spectacular international sports event
One of the most salient features of the Modern Olympics is its unique and integrated ritual system devised for the purpose of purifying the spirits of the spectators. Showcasing utmost solemnity, sanctity and intriguingness, these rites and ceremonies are the embodiment of mankind' s eternal quest for "the true, the good and the beautiful" and are contrived to promote lofty Olympic ideals and the international influence of the Games. Apart from the adoption of the quadrennial tradition of ancient Olympic Games, Pierre De Coubertin introduced to the Modern Olympics ceremonies such as flame-lighting and oath-taking. Moreover, he was also the designer of the famous Olympic Rings--symbolizing the five continents of the world united by Olympism. In 1895, Pierre wrote a poem entitled Ode to Sport which has long been widely celebrated for its glorification of sportsmanship.
On 6 April 1896, at the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympic Games, Olympic Flame was lit in accordance with ancient Olympic conventions, Ode to Samaras (better know today as the Olympic Anthem) was played and white doves were released as a symbol of world peace and purity. At the center of the Athens Olympic Emblem was Goddess Athena bearing a laurel made from olive branches in the hands. In addition, the marathon was included at the Games as an event in commemoration of ancient Greece' s victory over Persian armies at the Marathon Plain and among the trophies for marathon winners, there were olive branches grown at the holly land of Olympia. All these proceedings and arrangements were marked by a distinctively historic and humanistic flavor, laying the foundation for the human-orientation of the Modern Olympics.