Coubertin Quote for Nov, 13
The Middle Ages made a gross error in treating the human body as a pile of rags, and in teaching man to despise life.Share
When Baron Pierre de Coubertin envisioned the full possibilities of sport for modern life, he found his primary source of light and inspiration in the vigorous athletic traditions of Ancient Greece, where Hellenism emphasized the full development of man’s mental and physical capacities and the Olympic Games served as the greatest festival of the classical age. In contrast, he was astonished by the darkness of the Middle Ages, where the dominant religions condemned the sinful flesh and turned men and women against their own bodies, creating a kind of schizophrenia that stunted human imagination and social progress. Not surprisingly, even in the darkest centuries, the Baron spotted the athletic instinct in the chivalrous code of the knights, in their commitment to physical excellence and their sporting rituals. This quote is drawn from “Neo-Olympism: Appeal to the People of Athens,” a speech in which the Baron provided a sweeping view of the history of sport in an attempt to rally his Greek audience to support the upcoming 1896 Athens Olympic Games. The text of the speech appeared in Le Messager d’Athènes in November 1894.
“The Middle Ages made a gross error in treating the human body as a pile of rags, and in teaching man to despise life. Yet sportsmen did exist even during that period so deeply marked by such sincere and naive absolutism. Chivalry was a vast athletic confraternity.”