Coubertin Quote for Jul, 21
The time has come to enter a new phase, and to restore the Olympiads to their original beauty.Share
As he looked back at the first two Olympic Games of the modern era—Athens 1896 and Paris 1900—Baron Pierre de Coubertin bemoaned the fact that there had been no congresses, lectures, no emphasis on the moral purpose of sport and, above all, no grand cultural festival of the arts as there had been during the Ancient Games. He decided it was time to expand future Olympiads to celebrate humanity’s creativity and intellectual progress along with sport. In an article in Le Figaro in June 1904, he proclaimed his intentions. Two years later, in Paris, he hosted the “Consultative Congress on Arts and Culture” at the prestigious Comédie Française under the patronage of its famous director, Jules Claretie. The Olympic Arts Congress drew sixty artists and patrons along with five IOC members. It concluded with a recommendation for five art competitions during the Games—in painting, sculpture, architecture, literature and music. The concept of the Cultural Olympiad finally reached fruition six years later at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games.
“The time has come to enter a new phase, and to restore the Olympiads to their original beauty. At the time of Olympia's splendor ... the arts and literature harmoniously joined with sports to ensure the greatness of the Olympic Games. This must also hold true in the future ... Henceforth, the Olympic Games will include, in addition to the sports events which are the essence of the Games ... the best works that the concept of athletics has inspired in literature, sculpture, music, painting and architecture.”
Photos: La Comédie-Française today and in an 18th century illustration