Coubertin Quote for Nov, 10
The evolution of the soul … of an institution (must) … remain as steadfast as the principles on which the institution is based.

While an institution may change its external appearances and procedures to adapt to the times, it must ensure that its core principles are not compromised in the process.  This was one of the primary defenses that Baron Pierre de Coubertin mounted against those who sought to boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games once the National Socialists took over the organizing committee.  The Baron continued to assert the independence of Olympism regardless of the political position of the hosts.  Despite the appearances that unfolded in Berlin, the Baron sought to assure the world that the principles at the heart of Olympism—excellence, inclusion, respect, sport for all, friendship—had not been and would not be compromised.  Jesse Owens, of course, provided some vindication for the Baron’s arguments.  Till the end of his life, the Baron sought to ensure the IOC remained politically neutral—while defending the dignity of humanity—as it worked to fulfill its mission of developing sport in every region and country in the world.  This passage and the paraphrased quote above are from his article, “Olympism and Politics,” which appeared in La Revue Sportive Illustrée in 1936.

“In reality, there are almost always two forms of evolution in an institution: the evolution of appearances, and the evolution of the soul. The first tries to adapt to current trends, and changes according to the whims of fashion. The second remains as steadfast as the principles on which the institution is based. It evolves slowly and healthily, in conformity with the laws of humanity itself. Olympism falls within the second of these categories.”

Courtesy Creative Commons