Coubertin Quote for Dec, 08
… so many young lives born to savor the joys of sport were … sacrificed on the altar of Armageddon …

This is one of the saddest quotes we have posted this year—and ironically it is drawn from a passage that should have been filled with joy since it occurred in the midst of the Paris 1924 Olympic Games.  On the night of June 23rd, Baron Pierre de Coubertin and his IOC colleagues were gathered in the Sorbonne for a celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the revival of the Games.  As they welcomed the new French president, Gaston Doumergue, the Baron’s thoughts turned to a similar celebration ten years before in 1914—on “eve of the cataclysm”—and he couldn’t help but reflect on the loss of life, particularly young life, delivered in the devastation of World War I.  Part of the sorrow he felt was undoubtedly rooted in the fact that the Olympic Movement he had founded to promote friendship among the nations of the world had been unable to prevent another war.  He also knew, of course, his retirement would arrive the next year and the Paris Games would therefore be the last over which he presided.

“As my colleagues and I welcomed the Head of State, a host of thoughts crowded through my mind, above all the memory of the ceremony in June 1914 on the eve of the cataclysm during which, for four long years, so many young lives born to savor the joys of sport were to be sacrificed on the altar of Armageddon …”