Coubertin Quote for Dec, 06
They were unable to comprehend my idea—to interpret this forgotten thing: Olympism, and to separate its soul, its essence … from the ancient forms that had enveloped it.Share
The first time he tried to revive the modern Olympic Games—on November 25, 1892—Baron Pierre de Coubertin fell flat on his face. While he recalled the experience through a humorous lens thirty-six years later in the opening chapter of his Olympic Memoirs, the moment must have been humiliating. He had gathered about two-thousand people, mostly students but a good many French luminaries, in the grand auditorium of the Sorbonne for an elaborate affair celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Union of Athletic Sports Societies. When he closed the meeting asking for their help for his proposal to revive the Olympic Games, they all applauded, but lent no support beyond lip service. Despite their reaction, he was not discouraged or deterred for long. Like a great athlete, he returned to the same arena seventeen months later, this time with a far more international audience aligned with his Olympic interests, and succeeded in launching his great quest to restore the ancient Games in modern form.
“Everyone applauded, everyone approved, everyone wished me great success, but no one had really understood. Full of good will—but no understanding—they were unable to comprehend my idea, to interpret this forgotten thing: Olympism, and to separate the soul, the essence, the principle ... from the ancient forms that had enveloped it and which, during the last fifteen hundred years, had fallen into oblivion.”