Olympic Games

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

Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate. The Games are currently held every two years, with Summer and Winter Olympic Games alternating, although they occur every four years within their respective seasonal games. Since 2008, host cities are contracted to manage both the Olympic and the Paralympic Games, where athletes who have a physical disability compete. The Paralympics are held immediately following their respective Olympic Games. Originally, the ancient Olympic Games were 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. The IOC has since become the governing body of the Olympic Movement, whose structure and actions are defined by the Olympic Charter.


  • 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
  • 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.
  • The Olympics have become a proving ground for scientists, chemists and unethical doctors.
    • Dr. Robert Voy, former director of drug testing for the U.S. Olympic Committee.
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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 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
  • 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)
  • 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)

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