Coubertin Quote for Apr, 10
As Jules Simon once said, ‘When one climbs up to the mountain tops, one must see joyful humanity ... Let us be joyful!’

Perhaps the greatest turning point in Coubertin’s professional life came on the day in 1888 when he met Jules Simon.  Having already served the Third Republic as Prime Minister and Minister of Public Instruction, Simon was still serving as a Senator in the French Assembly when they met.  Considered one of France’s leading intellects and writers, Simon was busy supporting more than a dozen different social causes when the Baron came calling with his ideas on integrating sports and physical education into the public school system.  Despite the 49-year difference in their ages, Simon, 74, immediately embraced the 25-year-old Coubertin’s proposals.  They formed a committee for the propagation of sports that quickly became known as The Jules Simon Committee, a name that provided access to leaders across government, academia, education and sport.  For the last decade of his life, Simon became Coubertin’s mentor and put his distinct imprimatur on Coubertin’s major efforts, especially the launch of the Olympic Movement.  Simon was long gone when Coubertin recalled his ‘joie de vie’ in Olympic Letter VII: The Recipe for Becoming Olympic, which he wrote in 1918.  The tone of this passage, and the respect it conveys, tells you all you need to know about the enduring affection in which the Baron still held his mentor.

“Well I ask you, what feeds effort but joy? As Jules Simon once said, ‘When one climbs up to the mountain tops, one must see joyful humanity ... Let us be joyful!’ He preached by example, the dear man. He had known disappointments and difficulties. Life's problems had never spared him, and well-deserved victories had escaped him. To see him view life from such an obstinately joyful angle proves that in this business, physical health is not everything, and that the joy in question is not exclusively animal in nature.”

Jules Simon in his study.