Coubertin Quote for Sep, 19
Behold the spectacle that the ancients have so often contemplated! It rises again before your eyes.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin was in a celebratory mood when he arrived in Athens in March of 1896, a little more than a week before the first modern Olympic Games began.  Like everyone else in Athens, the Baron was stunned by the glistening white marble of the Panathenaic Stadium, restored with stone cut from Mount Pentelicus—the same marble used by Lycurgus when he built the stadium as a racecourse in 330 B.C. and Herodes Atticus when he restored it in 144 A.D.  The tone of the Baron’s “Olympic Letter from Athens” suggests that the restoration of such a marvelous ancient relic signaled the athletic miracles yet to come.

“Behold the spectacle that the ancients have so often contemplated! It rises again before your eyes. The silhouette of the Greek temple has never been lost; the porticos and the colonnades have known twenty renaissances. But the stadia died at the same time as the athletic games. Their architectural features were known, but they have never been restored. A living stadium (stade vivant) has not been seen for centuries.”