Olympic Games

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Winning medals wasn’t the point of the Olympics. It’s the participating that counts.
Pierre de Coubertin

The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in the four-year period.

Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, held in Olympia, Greece from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, leading to the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. The IOC is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority.


The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part . . . The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
  • You request my presence at the Olympic Games, and for that reason you have sent envoys. For myself, I would come for the spectacle of physical struggle, except that I would be abandoning the greater struggle for virtue.
  • In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams.
    • Baron Pierre de Coubertin, as quoted in The Olympic Idea : Discourses and Essays (1970) by Carl Diem, p. 8
  • It’s no secret that in the world of elite sports, the wage gap is much wider than it is in the general workforce, where it hovers around 20 percent. For the U.S. women’s hockey team, that reality looked bleak: They received $1,000 monthly stipends for a six-month training period leading up to the Olympics, which, with Olympic bonuses, amounts to about $20,000 every four years. “It’s a full time job,” team captain Megan Duggan tells InStyle. But like many of her colleagues, she had to take on a side-hustle, in her case coaching NCAA hockey, to make ends meet.
  • The Olympic Movement today is perhaps the greatest social force in the world.
    • Avery Brundage, stated in 1964, then president of the International Olympic Committee. Olympic Ideals in Danger; Awake! magazine, (8 August 1984)
  • The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part . . . The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
    • Pierre de Coubertin, Olympic Ideals in Crisis; Awake! magazine (8 September 2000)
    • Note: Coubertin believed that engaging in wholesome competition could build good character, foster sound judgment, and promote upright conduct. He even spoke of a ‘religion of sport.’ The Olympics, he felt, could teach people to live in peace.
  • A better world could be brought about only by better individuals.
  • I therefore think that I was right in trying from the outset of the Olympic revival to rekindle a religious awareness.
    • Pierre de Coubertin, stated the modern founder of the Olympic movement, in the year before he died. The Olympics, Sports and Religion—Is There a Conflict?, Awake! magazine (8 August 1984)
  • Winning medals wasn’t the point of the Olympics. It’s the participating that counts.
  • Founder Pierre de Coubertin established the modern Games as the focal point for a social movement that would help make the world a better place by propagating the humanitarian philosophy of Olympism and broad educational practices.
    • Bruce Kidd, writing in the Calgary Herald
  • To look at any film clip from the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, it to sense that a renaissance took place during those ten days of sporting events.
    For starteers, the ultra-picturesque backdrop of blue skies and snow-capped, peaceful mountains of the war-neutral host country provided a sharp contrast to the shattered Europe that was often seen in the mid-to-late 1940s. Then there was the simple fact that an Olympics was actually taking place at all-it was the first Games (winter or summer) since 1936, and the ability for 28 countries to somehow unite in this way, just a few years after a devestating war, was surreal, to say the least. (It's worth noting, though, that neither Germany nor Japan were invited to participate-and as far as slaying went, neither country was re-admitted into the International Skating Union until 1951.)
  • War is in the games children play – capture the flag or the fort – and one of the most popular video games of 2018 in the United States was Call of Duty, based on the Second World War. The crowds who go to sporting events sometimes treat them as battles with the other team as the enemy. In Italy those who are known as Ultra fans arrive at football matches in highly organised groups with a firm hierarchy of command. They wear uniforms and give themselves names such as Commandos, Guerrillas and, much to the dismay of many of their fellow Italians, some borrowed from the partisan bands of the Second World War. They come to do battle with supporters of the rival team more than to watch the match. The modern Olympics were meant to build international fellowship but from almost their first moment they mirrored competition between the different nations. The games were not war but they took on many of its attributes, with the awarding of medals, the playing of national anthems and teams in uniforms marching in unison behind their national flags. Hitler and Goebbels famously envisaged the 1936 Berlin Olympics as key in their campaign to show the superiority of the German people and, during the Cold War, tallies of medals were read as showing the superiority of one side over the other.
  • The last of the ancient Olympic Games was held in A.D. 393. In the following year the edict of the emperor Theodosius prohibited the holding of the Games.
    • History of the Olympic Games, by Xenophon L. Messinesi
  • Nothing of all the ceremonies seems to create such an impression as the Flame which comes from Olympia . . . It links the Games about to be held with the religious expression sanctified over the centuries.
    • History of the Olympic Games, by Xenophon L. Messinesi
  • Losing a game is not equivalent to death. Failing to be numero uno does not make me a lesser human being.
    • James Michener, The Olympics, Sports and Religion—Is There a Conflict?, Awake! magazine (8 August 1984)
  • The road to the Olympics, leads to no city, no country. It goes far beyond New York or Moscow, ancient Greece or Nazi Germany. The road to the Olympics leads — in the end — to the best within us.
    • Jesse Owens, As quoted in People In America : "Jesse Owens" by Barbara Dash on VOA (7 June 2002)
  • The father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, described women's sport as an "unaesthetic sight" for the human eye and considered their participation would make the competition "impractical, uninteresting" and "improper" (although a few female athletes were allowed to take part after 1900).
  • A Women on Boards report found a widespread problem across disciplines, with fewer than 30% of board seats held by women in many governing bodies.
    Women are just 18% of all board members across the 28 International Sports Federations assessed. In the 129 National Olympic Committees, the figure is even lower and has actually fallen - women are 16.6% of the board, down from 17.6% in 2014.
  • I think that once people feel it’s important to the nation that they should have a lot of medals or whatever it is, I think I’d rather shelve the competitions they are pointless.
    • Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, he termed “deplorable” reports that one government would hold an inquiry because its athletes did not win enough medals. The Olympics—Where Are They Headed?; Awake! magazine (8 February 1977)
  • On Sunday, the Winter Olympics came to a close. Most of America shrugged. Ratings were significantly down from 2018, reaching all time lows some nights. There was drama, top tier athleticism and majestic sights, but it did not click with audiences. The Olympics are a fantastic international event showcasing the best of the best. Americans now just have many entertainment options.
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