Coubertin Quote for Dec, 05
(In California), nature's splendors provided a backdrop for the exquisite efforts of the people … whose instinct for art and beauty has long since drawn them onward and upward to greater destinies.Share
On his second trip to the United States in 1893, Baron Pierre de Coubertin spent four months traveling the length of country. After arriving in New York he went to Chicago for the 1983 Columbian Exposition, then by train to Denver and San Francisco, where he stayed in the luxurious Olympic Club. Turning back, he took a southern route through Texas and Louisiana before spending his last three weeks at Princeton with his eminent colleague, William Milligan Sloane, who would become his leading American partner in launching the modern Olympic Games. Almost forty years later, he wrote with deep enthusiasm about the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, which had just taken place. Those Games, as he states below, were the last awarded under his presidency. It’s clear from his comments, which appeared in La Revue Sportive Illustrée in his article, “The Apotheosis of Olympism,” that he had great affection for California. Years earlier, he had become close friends with William May Garland who led the effort to organize the 1932 Games. The Baron had hopes that these first Los Angeles Olympics would build a bridge to Asia and help Olympism “encircle the globe.” The performance of the Japanese team at the Los Angeles Games—7 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze medals—renewed his hopes that the Olympics would eventually be hosted in Asia. When he died five years later, that hope was on the horizon with Tokyo preparing to host the 1940 Games, which were cancelled, of course, by World War II.
“The Los Angeles Games are the last for which I, as president of the International Committee, proposed the site and called the vote on awarding the Games to that host city. The voting took place at the Capitoline Hill in Rome, during our 1923 Session. Nine years ahead of time! … I would not have wanted to end my third ten-year period as president of the IOC without underscoring, in a gesture of this kind, the ambition I had expressed from the start concerning the new form of Olympism: that it should encircle the globe, and thus not be subject to the chance events in a particular region or to narrow, nationalist views. My colleagues shared my understanding of how valuable this outlook is…. Events have fully justified our expectations. Despite adverse economic conditions and a banking crisis of unexpected scope, despite a press campaign with a bitterness of tone and an unfairness of intent equaled only by the self-interested calculation that inspired it, the Games of the Tenth Olympiad became a glorious apotheosis on the shores of the Pacific Ocean…. There, nature's splendors provided a backdrop for the exquisite efforts of the people of a state, whose instinct for art and beauty has long since drawn them onward and upward to greater destinies. California, o glorious land of labor, art and song!”