Coubertin Quote for Jan, 10
CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUSShare
CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS—Faster, Higher, Stronger. The official motto of the Olympic Games.
In the 1880s and early 1890s, Baron Pierre de Coubertin was working hard to integrate sports into the public school system of France. One his great early allies was a Dominican Priest, Father Henri Didon, who was a standing room only orator and a best-selling author (Life of Christ), but also a school master who used his book royalties to build a gymnasium and playing fields for his students. At a cross country race they had organized between schools near Paris, Coubertin heard Didon speak this famous phrase in a pep talk to his students. Loving the simplicity and inspiration it carried, Coubertin adopted it a few years later as the official motto of the Olympic Movement. Here’s a perspective on its power the Baron wrote in 1931 in an article on mottos for the Bulletin of International Sport Education in Lausanne.
“Our era, which no longer studies Latin and believes that it can forget that language without any repercussions—no doubt a passing error—has nevertheless continued to turn to it for its mottos, through its need for prestige and conciseness. Conciseness is the first of all a motto's necessary characteristics.
“The oldest of the recent athletic mottos—Citius, Altius, Fortius—dates back some thirty-five years. Its author was the famous Father Didon, of the Dominican order, then director of the school at Arcueil, near Paris. This great apostle with his manly energy soon saw the rebirth of athletics as a powerful educational tool, one that he did not hesitate to use. In a speech he gave while awarding the prizes at an interscholastic athletic meet held by the students, he suddenly used these three comparative adjectives. From that moment on, athletic records had found their glorification in the classic style. Their essential characteristics were summed up in three succinct words. The fate of this new motto was broader and greater than its author ever imagined. Olympism adopted it as its own and spread it around the world. Today, this resounding appeal echoes over the youth of all countries. It is read, intertwined with the five symbolic rings, everywhere that athletics has taken hold in triumph. It is surrounded by successive records for speed, endurance, and strength, braving the vain protests of worried coaches but applauded by the crowd that feels that records are essential in athletic life, and that exceptional prowess is key for any general activity.”