Coubertin Quote for May, 08
Of course, athletes know the price of good muscular health and the strength of the contentment that it provides, but it is not enough to create the total joy in which another element plays a part: altruism.Share
On a personal level, contentment is the reward for the sacrifices and discipline required to reach Olympic levels of athletic performance. According to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, that contentment will produce a sense of balance and inner harmony that is deeply satisfying, but it takes something more to achieve total joy. For that, the Baron says, an athlete must look beyond himself. Altruism, in this case in the context of sport, is a devotion to the success of others, to ensure that they, too, are gaining the full benefits of the game and the joy that flows from competition. Today, we often here the refrain that the greatest players make every one of their teammates better. This must be what the Baron was referring to in this quote from “Olympic Letter VII: The Recipe for Becoming Olympic,” which appeared in the Olympic Review in 1918.
In the Baron’s original composition, the now archaic word ‘humor’ appeared: “Of course, athletes know the price of good muscular humor and the strength of the contentment that it provides …” Early medical science proclaimed that the body had four chief fluids, called humors, which delivered good health when in proper balance. The Baron believed sport helped to balance those humors.