Coubertin Quote for Jan, 09
The future of civilization rests neither on political nor economic bases. It depends solely on the direction given to education.

After leading the modern Olympic Movement through the first thirty years of its existence—from its founding in 1894 through the celebration of the Games of the VIIIth Olympiad in Paris in 1924—Baron Pierre de Coubertin retired at the age of 62.  In May of 1925 at the City Hall of Prague, he addressed the assembled Olympic Movement at his final Congress and laid before them a vision of what considered most important for the future.

Here’s the excerpt of that speech from which this quote is taken. “Above all, I want to be able to use the time I have left to hasten an urgent undertaking, to the extent that I can: the advent of an educational philosophy that produces mental clarity and critical calm. In my opinion, the future of civilization does not rest now on political or economic foundations. It depends solely on the educational orientation that will be put in place. The social issue itself will not find any durable solution outside education. That is why the first nation or the first class that gives the signal will be guaranteed to lead the new Europe. The stakes are worth the effort.”

He had launched his career in the 1880s as an education reformer, and the Olympic Games had grown from his desire to popularize the link between sport and education. As he turned away from the Olympic Movement, he was turning back toward his first love—education.  But he was also leaving the Olympic Family with a message on the importance of ensuring that the vital link between sport and education needed more attention.  The Games had become so popular—the event and the competition itself had become so dominant—that the emphasis on education had been all but lost. If Coubertin were to come back today, he would marvel at the extraordinary scope, scale and success of the Olympic Games, but he would more than likely be disappointed that the educational emphasis of the Olympic Movement was not as central to its mission today as he had always hoped it would be.