The Olympic Games

OlympicThe modern Olympic Games began in the late-nineteenth century as a revival of the ancient Greek Olympics. Now just over one hundred years old, the modern Olympic movement is the biggest and most important sports movement in the world. In fact, many people believe the Olympic Games to be the most important cultural event of any kind in the world.  

The modern Olympic Games were the brainchild of Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin. De Coubertin’s dream for an international sports event and cultural movement became a reality in 1894 at the International Athletic Congress in Paris. After the Games were constituted in 1894, the first Olympic Games was held in Athens, Greece, in 1896, in recognition of the ancient Greek Olympic Games.  

The original purpose of the Olympic Games in de Coubertin’s mind was to celebrate and strengthen the physical, mental, and cultural qualities of humanity. The Games would blend sport with culture, tradition, and education. The philosophy of Olympism is based on the joy of physical and mental effort and the respect for universal ethical principles. De Coubertin envisioned creating a more noble and sympathetic humanity through the Olympic movement.  

The sports events themselves de Coubertin modeled after the English public school sport system. He saw in upper-class English boys’ sport the qualities of camaraderie, nobility, and honesty. Most importantly, however, was adherence to the rules of sport, in particular the rule that stated sport ought to be amateur in nature. De Coubertin believed participants should never participate in sport for the purpose of making money. To do so would contradict the underlying philosophy of sport. Breaking the amateur rule in de Coubertin’s time was as serious a violation as taking drugs to enhance performance is in today’s world of sport.  

Over time, the Olympics grew to be the largest international festival of any kind. Today, debates exist as to the degree to which the modern Games adhere to de Coubertin’s original intent. On the one hand, Olympic sport is truly international in nature, as de Coubertin would have wanted it. On the other hand, it is doubtful that de Coubertin would have admired the existence of politics, commercialism, and drug use in sport. The Olympics have become truly international, but perhaps at a price.  

There is little question that the Olympic Games hold out the possibility for fulfilling de Coubertin’s original goal of sport contributing to a better, more peaceful, and understanding world.

1 thought on “The Olympic Games

  • revival

    a process in which something becomes active or strong again
    The US and the UK have expectations of economic revival.
    revival of
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    There has been a revival of interest in Picasso’s work.


    an idea, plan, organization etc that someone has thought of without any help from anyone else
    brainchild of
    The festival was the brainchild of Reeves.
    this project was the brainchild of my father  
    This festival was the brainchild of the town’s mayor.


    to formally establish or appoint:

    Governments should be constituted by the will of the people.

    in recognition of


    public respect and thanks for someone’s work or achievements :  

    He has  achieved recognition  and respect as a scientist.
    The importance of voluntary organizations in the economy still needs to be  given recognition .
    in recognition of something
    He was presented with a gold watch in recognition of his service to the company.


    to combine different things in a way that produces an effective or pleasant result, or to become combined in this way
    a story that blends fact and legend
    blend with/together
    Leave the sauce for at least one hour to allow the flavours to blend together.


    relating to principles of what is right and wrong
    ᅳsynonym moral
    ethical issues/questions/problems
    The use of animals in scientific tests raises difficult ethical questions.
    The president must have the highest ethical standards .


    to imagine something that you think might happen in the future, especially something that you think will be good
    ᅳsynonym envisage
    As a young teacher, I envisioned a future of educational excellence.

    he came to an end his school master had envisioned


    morally good or generous in a way that is admired
    It’s very noble of you to spend all your weekends helping the old folk.

    noble ideals


    a feeling of friendship that a group of people have, especially when they work together
    the camaraderie of the women’s basketball team


    used to show that your next statement or question is more, equally etc important than what you said before
    more/most/less/equally importantly
    Most importantly, you must keep a record of everything you do.


    when someone behaves according to a particular rule, belief, principle etc
    adherence to
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    his adherence to religion 
    strict/rigid/slavish adherence
    strict adherence to Judaic law


    (of a statement, action, fact, etc.) to be opposite in nature or character to (another one); disagree with: Their alibis contradict each other. (=if one is true, the other must be false)


    not directly expressed but quite important:
    The underlying cause of his sudden departure
    the underlying causes of her depression

    There is an underlying assumption that younger workers are easier to train.
    the underlying trend

    over time

    if something happens over time, it happens gradually during a long period
    The research project will be assessed over time. Students are encouraged to consider the way language changes over time .


    to follow closely or exactly
    adhere to the rules


    the principle or practice of being more concerned with making money from buying and selling goods than you are about their quality – used to show disapproval
    the commercialism of modern culture

    at a price

    for a lot of money
    You can get goat’s cheese at the local delicatessen – at a price!


    to do or provide what is necessary or needed
    fulfil a role/duty/function etc
    A good police officer is not fulfilling his role if he neglects this vital aspect.
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    Britain was accused of failing to fulfil its obligations under the EU Treaty.
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