Coubertin Quote for May, 01
I would welcome most warmly an interruption in hostilities in the midst of war between armed opponents, in order to celebrate athletic, fair and courteous (Olympic) Games.Share
On August 4, 1935, one year before the Games of the 11th Olympiad were set to be begin in Berlin, Baron Pierre de Coubertin traveled to the Radio Suisse Romande studios in Geneva to deliver a long broadcast as part of a series he was recording on “The Philosophic Foundation of Modern Olympism." One aspect of his message that day concerned the importance of celebrating the Games in their regular cycle regardless of external circumstances. Always a prophet on some matters, the idea of war must have been on the Baron’s mind at the time. In this part of his discourse, he made a point of emphasizing the possibilities of a truce in hostilities in order to stage a peaceful Games. This is one of his last major public speeches, and it’s significant, given the threat to peace unfolding in Europe just then, that he was making an appeal to ensure the Games would go on. Here’s part of the passage from which this quote is taken.
“The idea of the truce is another element of Olympism…. How better to honor (the Olympic Games) than by proclaiming a temporary cessation of hostilities, disputes, and misunderstandings, at regular, set intervals for this express purpose? Men are not angels, and I do not believe that humanity would profit from having most men become angels. But the truly strong man is one whose will is powerful enough to make himself and his group stop pursuing its desire or passion for domination and possession, regardless of how legitimate such pursuits may be. I would welcome most warmly an interruption in hostilities in the midst of war between armed opponents, in order to celebrate athletic, fair and courteous (Olympic) Games.”
At the end of the broadcast, the Baron closes with a note of optimism even though he recognizes his end is not far away.
“Now that I have come to the close of my days, I take advantage of the coming Games of the Eleventh Olympiad to express my best wishes to you, along with my thanks. At the same time, I express to you my unshakable faith in youth and in the future!”
Baron Pierre de Coubertin at the Radio Suisse Romande Studio in Geneva August 4, 1935