Coubertin Quote for Nov, 12
The revival (of the Olympic Games) was not … a spontaneous dream, but … the logical consequence of the great cosmopolitan tendencies of our times.Share
In the official report that was published after the Athens 1896 Olympic Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin provided a historic overview of their revival. In his article, “The Olympic Games B.C. 776. - A.D. 1896,” the Baron wrote at length about the origins of the idea of launching the modern Games. Here is his opening paragraph, from which today’s quote is compressed.
“Whenever a new idea has sprung up, assumed a practical form and become a reality, it is not always easy to explain why this particular idea, more than any other, has emerged from the stream of other thoughts, which are as yet awaiting their realization. This however is not the case with the reinstitution of the Olympic Games: Their revival is not owing to a spontaneous dream, but it is the logical consequence of the great cosmopolitan tendencies of our times. The XIXth Century has seen the awakening of a taste for athletics everywhere; at its dawn in Germany and Sweden, at its meridian in England, at its decline in France and America. At the same time the great inventions of the age, railroads and telegraphs, have brought into communication people of all nationalities. An easier intercourse between men of all languages has naturally opened a wider sphere for common interests. Men have begun to lead less isolated existences, different races have learnt to know, to understand each other better, and by comparing their powers and achievements in the fields of art, industry and science, a noble rivalry has sprung up amongst them, urging them on to greater accomplishments. Universal Exhibitions have collected together at one spot of the globe, the products of its remotest corners. In the domain of science and literature, assemblies and conferences have united the most distinguished intellectual laborers of all nations. Could it be otherwise, but that also sportsmen of diverse nationalities should have begun to meet each other on common ground. Is not emulation the mainspring of all exertions, whether mental or physical? Switzerland took the lead by inviting foreign marksmen to take part in its own federal shooting matches; bicycle races have been run on every track in Europe; England and America have challenged each other by sea; and by land; the ablest fencers of Rome and Paris have crossed swords with each other. Gradually sport has become more international, exciting the interests and widening the sphere of action. The revival of the Olympic Games became possible, nay I may say, even necessary.”