Coubertin Quote for Jan, 27
Peace has become a sort of religion, its altars surrounded day after day by an increasing number of faithful.Share
After the tremendous triumph at the Sorbonne in June of 1894, in which Baron Pierre de Coubertin succeeded in resurrecting the Olympic Games and naming Athens, Greece as the first host city for 1896, he had to travel to Greece to rally the support of the people against the political resistance that had developed there. This is the second quote in this series from the lecture he gave to the Parnassus Literary Society in Athens on November 16, 1894. I’ve selected it because of its emphasis on peace and the beauty of the religious metaphor he’s developed here. The idea that peace and sport, specifically the Olympic Games, could be connected would have resonated with his Greek audience at the time since their incessant hostilities with Turkey were always a threat. This quote also foreshadows the development of the idea of sport as a secular religion—an idea that Coubertin would spend a lot of time developing in his writings over the course of the next forty years. More to come on this.
This quote appears in The Neo-Olympism: Appeal to the People of Athens, in Le Messager d’Athènes, from the lecture given to the Parnassus Literary Society in Athens on November 16, 1894.