The Place and Role of Olympism in Higher Education

### Introduction

Interpreting the place and role of Olympism in higher education is a necessary and pertinent issue. The close relationship between the Olympic Movement and universities dates back as far as 1894. The fact that the IOC was established at Sorbonne University – the “temple of science,” as Pierre de Coubertin called it – contributed to this, as did Coubertin himself. The development of sport, as well as the importance and social impact of the Olympic Games, later prompted interest among individual researchers and teams of scholars at universities. The general interest among universities in Olympism and the Olympic Games in the 1980s intensified their direct and indirect cooperation with the Olympic Movement, both in terms of education and research (c.f. Morgas, 2006). Another mediator in this process comprised the activities of the IOC and the IOA, as well as the establishment of a new Olympic Museum, which has been illustrating the connection between Olympism, sport, and culture since 1993, whilst also developing and supporting the concept of education and research projects at universities. Nonetheless, the educational and research leanings of universities, as well as the forms in which they cooperate with national Olympic Movements and the themes that have been dealt with, often differ. National specificity is important in this regard. Consequently, the starting point for our report is the Czech Republic, which makes no claims to represent the general situation.

### Why is Olympism taught and researched at universities in the Czech Republic?

* It is the Olympic Movement’s mission to cooperate with the academic community.
* The development of the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games cannot do without academic reflections on their social impact.
* Apart from other things, the implementation of Olympic values in university curricula programmes has also been caused by a crisis in general concepts of education, which students find too theoretical, formal, and verbose.
* The autonomy of the Olympic Movement and universities, as well as their economic security and the coordination and harmonisation of research and education, are basic preconditions for their effective cooperation.
* Physical education and sports at primary and secondary schools, as well as at universities, should not only comprise sports training but should also have an Olympic and humanist dimension.
* The Olympic Movement needs experts and specialists. Universities can offer and arrange training for them, along with academic research and a specialist service.
* For the time being, we cannot be entirely satisfied with the role of primary and secondary schools as well as universities in disseminating the Olympic idea and Olympic culture.

### Implementing Olympism in the education programmes of Czech universities and faculties

Olympism, is a set of principles, ideas, visions, and challenges. Coubertin described it in not completely systematic terms as a philosophy of life with the principles of a cult of effort, eurhythmics, and a love of exercise, but also as a state of mind (c.f. Naul, 2009). Consequently, as far back as the end of the 19th century, in his philosophical, psychological, and educational musings, Coubertin already understood that sport and exercise were becoming important actors in culture as well as a means of educating and communicating across different civilisations.

Besides by the original ideas of Pierre de Coubertin, Olympism is enriched by other ideas and objectives in the Olympic Charter. These comprise reflections on the development of the Olympic Movement, sport, and culture as well as their mutual relationships (c.f. Georgiadis, 2003). Nonetheless, they also include reflections on applying the results of academic research.

As we shall illustrate below, two different approaches have been pursued in incorporating Olympism into curricula at Czech universities for training experts in physical education and sports. At other universities and faculties, the implementation of Olympism is not yet systematic and is influenced by specialists operating in the fields of philosophy, sociology, ethics, aesthetics, etc.

#### A) Implementing Olympic themes in social science curriculum subjects for training physical education specialists

Wherever Olympism cannot be applied as a separate study subject, Olympic themes are chosen and taught according to the graduates’ future work. They are primarily taught in social and sports subjects, but are also developed in courses for sports disciplines in both bachelor’s and master’s studies. As future teachers, trainers, instructors, etc., physical education students learn basic Olympic knowledge, skills and competences for their future activity in several study subjects.

Tables 1.
Implementing Olympic themes in curriculum subjects at physical education faculties in the Czech Republic

Man and the World — General Themes Olympic Themes, Knowledge, Skills, and Competences of Students Academic Disciplines and Study Subjects
The coexistence of people coming together; respecting ethical principles knowing the importance of sport as a means of bringing people together. Understanding the Olympic Games as a means of mutual understanding, friendship, solidarity and honest competition philosophy, sports philosophy, ethics, sports psychology
Human behaviour, national minorities, foreigners understanding and assessing the importance of the Olympic Charter, the role of Olympic ideals in respecting people of different nations, races and cultures, rejecting any kind of discrimination ethics, philosophy, sports philosophy, sports psychology, sports education
Building a peaceful and better wold applying youth education through sports, obser-ving Olympic principles, and setting a personal example; knowing the importance of ekecheiria in historical and contemporary reflections philosophy, sociology, sports sciences, sports activities
Personal safety, violence in society, socially undesirable behaviour realising and distinguishing the differences between polite encouragement for sports teams and various forms of direct or transferred aggression at sports matches (football, hockey) sports sociology, sports psychology, legislation, the law in sport
International and national institutions and organisations knowing and distinguishing governmental and non-governmental international and national Olympic organisations, as well as the international and national sports federations sports management, law, sports sociology
Basic human rights and citizens’ obligations understanding sport as a human right, knowing the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport as well as the European Charter of Sport and examples of their application legislation and the law in sport, ethics, sports philosophy, sports sociology
Getting to know people valuing the Olympic Movement and sport as a means of knowing and understanding other people; the Olympic Games as a meeting of young people from all over the world sports philosophy, sports sociology, sports psychology
Self-knowledge understanding Olympism as a state of mind and self-knowledge through sport, joy in efforts made; forming positive attitudes to sport sports psychology, sports philosophy
Interpersonal relationships managing to perceive manifestations of intole-rance in people’s behaviour, unfair and fair beha-viour in life and in sport; managing to shape a situation for the development fair-play behaviour ethics, sports psychology, sociology, sports sociology
Interpersonal relationships managing to perceive manifestations of intole-rance in people’s behaviour, unfair and fair beha-viour in life and in sport; managing to shape a situation for the development fair-play behaviour ethics, sports psychology, sociology, sports sociology
Interpersonal communication recognizes the importance of sport and sports “competitions” and overcome oneself in human communication. Managing to prepare and organise sports competitions in schools and in clubs in accordance with Olympic principles active participation in sports competitions, Olympic days and festivals for young people, sports management
Human solidarity knowing and being able to explain the role and importance of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Olympic Charter, sports history, ethics
Value system knowing and being able to interpret and evaluate the main Olympic values and the principles of their internalization sports history, sports philosophy, axiology
Human activity, Work, Leisure Time Olympic Themes, Knowledge, Skills and Competences of Students Academic Disciplines and Study Subjects
Leisure time and the use of this time understanding and evaluating sport as one of the most mass forms of leisure-time activities, identifying sport as a means of educating the young, health and delinquent prevention sports philosophy, sports education, biomedicine
An active lifestyle appreciating and understanding Olympism as an active life philosophy and style with sport and exercise playing an important role, adopting a positive attitude to it development sports philosophy, ethics, sports education, sports sociology
Forms and manifestations of culture in society understanding and valuing sport as one of the forms of physical culture; multiculturalism aesthetics, sports philoso-phy, cultural anthropology, artistic competitions: literature, music, drama
Culture, art and sport Being able to describe and explain the relationship between Olympism, sport, culture and art, the principle of kalokagathia, knowing important works of art as a cultural legacy aesthetics, sports philoso-phy, cultural anthropolo-gy, artistic competitions – literature, art, music and drama
History Olympic Themes, Knowledge, Skills and Competences of Students Academic Disciplines and Study Subjects
Antiquity sport and games in antiquity understanding ancient Olympic traditions, understanding the purpose and mission of the ancient Olympic Games, appreciating the importance of antiquity in modern Olympism sports history, sports philosophy, aesthetics
The origin of international sport and the Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin knowing the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Olympic symbolism. Understanding the important and mission of the Olympic Games, Olympic institutions and organisations sports history, philosophy, sports philosophy, sports management
Man and Health Olympic Themes, Knowledge, Skills and Competences of Students Academic Disciplines and Study Subjects
The preventive importance of exercise and sport understanding and being able to explain the health importance of active exercise and sport. Being able to shape a situation for overcome one-self, the importance of interpersonal competition biomedicine, health physical education, sports physiology, sports sociology
Addictive drugs, health, doping knowing the detrimental nature of stimulants, prohibited means of performance enhancement in sport, understanding the destructive signify-cance of doping in personal self-development biomedicine, health physical education, sports physiology, hygiene, ethics, sports psychology
Doping and preventive anti-doping measures understanding the essence of the fight and campaign against doping in sport, the causes for the fight against its misuse, knowing the main principles of preventive anti-doping measures biomedicine, biochemistry, sports physiology, hygiene, ethics, sports psychology
Physical Education a Sport Olympic Themes, Knowledge, Skills and Competences of Students Academic Disciplines and Study Subjects
Olympic Charter, Olympic ideals, Olympic ceremonials, symbols valuing the importance of Olympic ideas, their reaching beyond sport, fair competition even in extreme situations in games and contests, nature conservation in sport, assistance for the handicapped, etc. sports philosophy, sports sociology, sports psychology, nature conservation, health physical education

#### B) Olympism as a separate instructional and educational subject in the curriculum

Universities together with Czech Olympic Academy are jointly taking part in formulating the content of the curriculum for Olympic education at primary and secondary schools (c.f. Rychtecký & Dovalil, 2009). Apart from this, private and public universities and sports faculties are also creating their own implied “Olympic” subjects, which they offer their students in a obligatory or elective form in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral studies. The most frequent names given to mostly elective subjects taught at the sports and educational faculties of universities in the Czech Republic are, “Olympism” and “Olympic Education.” Their content is based on the themes in the table, but it is taught in a condensed form.

A common and unifying basis for an Olympism curriculum at universities is the textbook, _Olympism_ compiled by a team of authors from universities as well as specialists and experts from the Olympic Movement. It was published in 2004 with the support of the Czech Olympic Committee and contains the following chapter topics: Sport; Pierre de Coubertin, Philosophy of Olympism; Relations of Sport, Olympism and Culture; Antique Inspirations; Olympic Symbols and Ceremonies; Olympic Movement; Brief History of the Olympic Movement; Olympic Games; Czech Olympic Movement; Financing of the Olympic Movement; Sport for All in the Olympic Movement; Women and Sport in the Olympic Movement; the Ecological Dimension in Olympism; Olympism and Arts; Sport and Olympism in the Examination of Time; Future of Olympism; Olympic Education; Education in Sport. The textbook is used by university students, as well as by experts and interested persons of the Olympic Movement in the Czech Republic.

### Olympism as a subject of research at Czech universities

An analysis of contemporary Olympism indicates that its declaratory and concise expression in the Olympic Charter does not provide a sufficiently vivid picture or answers to questions such as, “What exactly is Olympism?” This brevity, due to the nature of the Charter, currently also poses a challenge for this unique social phenomenon to be more comprehensively analysed and interpreted in the broader context of social, sports, and natural sciences at universities. Moreover, the mission of the IOC and IOA, NOCs and NOAs (also cited at the 13th Olympic Congress in Copenhagen last year) is to develop, protect, and spread the principles of Olympism and Olympic values in physical education and sports programmes at schools and universities.

### Olympism in the context of academic research

![Figure. 1: Olympism and the Olympic Movement in the system of academic disciplines](
Figure. 1: Olympism and the Olympic Movement in the system of academic disciplines

Olympism transcends sport, both as a set of preferred values and within a cultural framework. In many cases, it advocates sport (c.f. Parry, 1998; Jegorov, 2001). Consequently, incorporating Olympic themes into university research projects in social and sports sciences is of crucial significance, both for the academic and subsequent education activities of universities. In the next section, we shall recall selected methodological problems and stereotypes, which sometimes appear in basic and applied research on Olympism and the Olympic Games, and are transferred to education activities.

### Philosophy, sports philosophy, and Olympism

In historical and contemporary reflections, philosophy devotes itself to the anthropological and aretological characteristics of sports competitions, as well as to the socio-political, religious, aesthetic, and symbolic attributes of Olympism and the Olympic Games. The general goal is to create a consistent philosophy for the Olympic ideal. The aretological and anthropological dimensions of the Olympic Games are linked to the values of the body and mind, as well as the limits of educational values in sport. Stereotypes in the philosophical interpretation of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement include the fact that their transcendent wholes are underestimated. The Olympic Games contain virtues and a further disctintion of the attributes of perfection, glory, goodness, heroism, grace, etc. Some of these are particularly important because they involve crucial issues concerning human consciousness and existence. Olympism and the Olympic Games are no exception in this respect (c.f. Eyler, 1981). Besides by philosophy and sports philosophy, Olympism is also examined by other philosophical disciplines and sub-disciplines, i.e. the philosophy of art, comparative philosophy, ontology, phenomenology, the philosophy of gender, axiology, etc. (First World Olympic Congress of Philosophy, Athens, 2004).

### Sociology, sports sociology, and Olympism

In sociology and the sociology of sport, the following questions are posed in an analytical (sometimes not sufficiently defined) context and relationship to sport and Olympism:

* What is so specific in the Olympic Movement, which has been systematically extending its influence for more than a century despite counterarguments that Olympism is “running out of steam?”
* How has sport and Olympism changed over time and in the wider social context?
* What is the public image of sport, the Olympic Games, and the Olympic Movement, etc.?

Without answers to these and other questions, any examinations of sport, and Olympism will be reductive and restrictive in terms of their insights in sociological descriptions of modern societies (c.f. Pawłucki, 2009).

### Psychology, sports psychology, and Olympism

Research in sports psychology interprets the Olympic ideals, which facilitate an overlap of personal excellence and the development of performance (c.f. Cross & Jones, 2007; Gould, Collins, Lauer& Chung, 2006). Coubertin’s concept of Olympism as a “state of mind” is nothing other than an emotional, personality, and intra-individual overlap and means of overcoming oneself, as expressed in the motto, “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” It comprises the most important component of an individual’s motivation structure for sport and performance. Consequently, Coubertin’s cult of effort is always more important than external motivations – the stimulation of performance through external incentives. Therefore, competition in the spirit of Olympism primarily has a self-reconciling and self-improving significance while achieving maximum individual performance (c.f. Shields & Bredemeier, 1995; Müller, 2000). Sports psychology seeks adequate answers to the following frequently asked questions:

* How can one bridge the gap between Olympic ideals and the application of contemporary methods of operation used in sports training for youths (incentives, inappropriate awards)?
* Does sport always have a positive impact on personal development?

It is apparent, however, that motivation which emphasises victory at all costs may have a negative influence on the behaviour of sports people, and can lead to bribery or cheating (c.f. Miller & Kerr, 2002).

### Education, sports education, and Olympism

Coubertin understood sport as an educational instrument – a school of moral chivalry, purity, and physical force. The content, aim, and outcome of this education comprise attitudes and interiorised Olympic values. Current concepts of Olympic education have been updated through systematic research, just as the Olympism and Olympic education textbook have been. Research in education and sports education has also raised other questions:

* How, and by which means and methods, is it possible for an individual as a subject of education to identify with Olympic values through sport?
* Has contemporary sport lost its former values for young people?

Doubt is sometimes cast on sport as an edifying instrument with the assertions that the development of qualities and skills is not always linked to participation in sport. This is true because merely participating in sport does not automatically impact upon the personal development of a subject. Nevertheless, sport without ideals can increase one’s tolerance of cheating, both in terms of one’s competitors and the person themselves (c.f. Gould, Collins, Lauer & Chung, 2006).

### Ethics, Olympismus, and the Olympic Games

Fair play and respect for one’s competitors develop through active participation in sport and are preconditions for free competition without discrimination (Olympic Charter, 2004). The Olympic Movement aspires also to spread these values beyond the realm of sport (c.f. Dziubiński, 2008). “Sport is and should remain a forum where everyone has a chance to actively participate and develop in it. Consequently, sport is a human right, but it is not possible to separate it from the rest of the world” (c.f. Rogge, 2004).

### Culture, art, and Olympism

The original Greek ideal of _Kalokgathia_ became the model and moderator for the personal development of sports people. The stereotype in looking at the reality of the Olympic Movement is that, in our traditional education, we are strongly influenced by rational thinking adapted to the one truth. The Cartesian ideal of the one truth was the foundation stone of modern science and has been particularly successful in natural sciences. Sometimes, however, this ideal fails in the demanding and critical situations and problems of the Olympic Movement. Art, however, offers a grasp of reality which cannot be provided by modern rationalism. In the critical and difficult reality of its context, which is not focused on the one truth only, art can describe a given situation more precisely than science. Culture in Olympism and sport, however, does not mean abandoning rationalism and Europe’s cultural heritage.

### Conclusions

* The IOC and NOCs should systematically support research in universities focused on Olympism, the Olympic Movement, and the Olympic Games. The 13th Olympic Congress in Copenhagen last year confirmed the importance and prospects of cooperation among the Olympic family and educational institutions.
* In cooperation with NOAs and OSCs, universities should focus part of their research and educational capacities on current issues concerning the Olympic Movement.
* Olympism, the principles, values, and relationship of Olympism to sport and culture should be an integral part of professional training for future teachers, coaches, managers, etc.
* The results of research activities in Olympism should be subsequently a predicate of education programmes and systematically developed in university concepts of Olympic education programmes. They may be applied as a separate educational subject or as a set of selected Olympic themes included in the content of education for social sciences and sports subjects.
* Cooperation between Olympic institutions and universities is beneficial, not only for the development of a deeper and more comprehensive interpretation of Olympism in historical and contemporary reflections, but also for the development of sports and social sciences, as well as for sport itself and its relationship with culture. Today, without the ideas and principles of Olympism, it is not possible to assess sport in its complex and rapid development, or to assess the evolution of society in the 20th and 21st centuries.
* The master’s programme on Olympic Studies entitled “Olympic Studies, Olympic Education, Organisation and Management of Olympic Events,” which opened in 2009 at the University of Peloponnése (c.f. Dimopoulos, 2009), has been inspirational and beneficial whilst also increasing the professionalism of specialists in the Olympic Movement.

### References:

Cross, J. A. & Jones, M. I. (2007). Sport Psychology and Olympism: How research on learning transferable life skills through sport can help the Olympic ideal become a reality. Sport & Exercise Psychology Review Vol 3 (1) 11 – 18.

Dimopoulos, K. A. (2009). The Master´s Programme on Olympic Studies: “Olympic studies, Olympic Education, Organization and Management of Olympic Events,” the University of Peloponnése, Ancient Olympia, Greece.

Dovalil, J. et al. (2004). Olympismus. Praha: Olympia 220 p.

Dziubiński, Z. (2008). Olympism in the Context of Modernity. Research yearbook, medsportpress, 14, (2), 2008, 115-124.

Eyler, M. H. (1981).”The Right Stuff.” In IOA Proceedings. 1981, pp. 159-168.

First World Olympic Congress of Philosophy on the topic of: Philosophy, Competition and Good Life. (Αthens-spetses, June 27th – July 4th, 2004).

Georgiadis, K. (2003). Olympic Revival. The Revival of the Olympic Games in Modern Times. Athens.

Gould, D., COLLINS, K., LAUER, L. & CHUNG, Y. (2006). Coaching life skills: A working model. Sport & Exercise Psychology Review, 2, 4 –12.

Miller, P. S. & KERR, G. A. (2002). Conceptualizing excellence: Past, present and future. Journal of Applied Psychology, 14, 140–153.

Morgas, M. (2006). Academic institutions and the Olympic Movement [online article]. Barcelona: Centre d’Estudis Olímpics UAB. [](

Müller, N. (Ed.). (2000). Olympism: Selected writings – Pierre de Coubertin. Lausanne: IOC.

Naul, R. (2008) Olympic Education. Oxford: Mayer & Mayer, 189 p.

Pawłucki, A. (2009). Sport as olympic modernism. Studies in physical culture and tourism. 16, No. 2, 2009; 147 – 153.

Parry, J. (1998). Physical Education as Olympic Education. European Physical Education. Review Volume 4 (2), 153-167.

Parry, J. (203). Olympism for the 21st Century. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: Centre d’Estudis Olímpics: 7p.

Shields, D. L. L. & BREDEMEIER, B, J. L. (1995). Character development and physical activity. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Rogge, J. (2004). Jacques Rogge IOC and UNAIDS Join Forces to Engage Sport Community in Fight Against Aids. IOC Press Release, 1 June.

Rychtecký, A. & Dovalil, J. (2009). The concept of Olympic education in the Czech school. In: 9th International Session for Directors of National Olympic Academies. Olympia: IOA, 2009, 158-164.

2016-04-01T09:39:40-05:00August 5th, 2010|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Coaching, Sports Exercise Science, Sports Management|Comments Off on The Place and Role of Olympism in Higher Education

The National Olympic Committee: Its Role and Position at the Dawn of the 21st Century

First of all, I wish to thank the President of the IOA, Mr. Isidoros Kouvelos, and the Director, Mr. Dionyssis Gangas, for their honoring invitation to speak as a lecturer at this Session. I share with both of them a sincere, enduring friendship and sports cooperation.

The subject was a challenge for me and should maybe be the topic of a one-day meeting, for I believe that the problems and challenges facing the Olympic Movement are many, just as there are many opposite views on where Olympism and its principles are heading today, in the 21st century.

Looking briefly back to the last century, we see that since the 70s, and especially during the 80s, the World Sports Movement has gone through a major crisis. The first problem is related to the escalation of violence inside and outside competition venues. Hooliganism has become the plague of football matches both inside and outside the stadiums, placing world sports authorities in a difficult position. The second problem is doping that was quite often encouraged by the governments of the former Eastern bloc. Alongside these two problems, we have witnessed terrorist attacks during the Olympic Games (Munich Olympic Village in 1972, Atlanta Olympic Park in 1996) and, during the Cold War, the boycotting of the Olympics by the USA and the former Soviet Union and their allies (Moscow 1976, Los Angeles 1980).

To answer the question, “What is the NOC’s role in the 21st century?“ one should take into account not only the conditions that prevail today worldwide, but also those that will follow. On the one hand, there are major scientific and technological breakthroughs that contribute to the propagation and development of sport, but on the other you have a financial crisis, an institutional crisis, a value crisis, and scandals that come to light even within the IOC in connection to briberies accepted by its members during the voting for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The crisis continues to exist within the Olympic Movement, as the problems of the past century persist with an additional factor, commercialization, which has invaded all levels of sport and the Olympic Movement and makes the situation even worse.

As crises occur, their handling depends on the administration and leadership of each NOC, which determines the levels of its authenticity. Dealing with a crisis requires leadership skills. When times are difficult, we all feel the temptation to compromise or forget our principles. However, the Olympic principles that have been handed down are not negotiable and should not disappear as the result of excessive commercialization. NOCs and, above all, the IOC, have the duty to be something more than the managers of the Olympic Idea. They have the duty to be its trustees.

The NOC’s mission is set out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 31, art. 2.1), according to which their mission is to develop and protect the Olympic Movement in their respective countries. The following paragraphs of this article detail the areas on which they should focus their activities.

Their first obligation is to propagate the fundamental principles of Olympism and contribute to their diffusion through educational programs. The precise definition of Olympism cannot be found in the best known international dictionaries, nor is it contained in the Olympic Charter. Moreover, Coubertin himself refrained from giving a definition, and it seems that the term was coined and appeared from 1909 onward as a set of values. These values are not clearly defined, but they are the basic values of ancient Greek philosophers who believed that young people should exercise in order to have a healthy body and should also cultivate their ethical and spiritual values in order to attain perfection. This standpoint is based on five elements: (a) unity of mind and body, (b) development of abilities, (c) impartiality, (d) fair play; and (e) peace. It is, therefore, obvious that today the philosophy of Olympism pursues pedagogical and educational objectives and does not influence only those who participate in the Olympic Games, but also millions of people who watch them on their television sets.

### The NOC And Olympic Education

In this century, the era of innocence for sport has irrevocably ended, and this is why we should understand that Olympic education is the primary element of the Olympic Movement and its quintessence.

Having established that, I believe that the NOCs should intensify their efforts of promoting Olympic education, which should be developed in two directions. The first involves theoretical consideration of the philosophy, sociology, and psychology of Olympism, with the view to enhancing its values. The second refers to the educational process as such that will initiate young people to the values of the Olympic Movement. This can be achieved in the following ways:

a. Through the athletes who have competed or won at the Olympic Games. Great athletes fascinate people with their fame and glory, and they may become role models for youth. The popularity and prestige which athletes enjoy at national and international level should be built on as they represent Olympism’s best ambassadors.
b. Through sports organizations and, in particular, through their country’s national federations and associations that can promote the spirit of sport and the principles of _fair play_, as well as combat violence and drug use propensity.
c. Through the media propagating Olympic education, by highlighting the great moments of the Olympic Games and interviews with their stars that focus on the human interest angle of their personal stories.
d. Finally, NOCs can propagate Olympism and its principles, especially in countries that have organized Olympic Games, through the volunteers. The Olympic Movement has the largest participation of volunteers, more than any other organization, and with proper training by NOCs, they can become the best heralds of Olympism.

The hovering question in the sports-loving world today is the following: Does sport build ethical persons, or should we build ethical persons who will become involved in sport? The answer is that by spreading Olympic education, we can build ethical persons.

### The Autonomy Of NOCs And Political Interventions

It is very important to protect and ensure the autonomy of NOCs. Each NOC is an independent legal entity and should not fall prey to political exploitation or be dependent on political authority. Unquestionably, NOCs should work to maintain harmonious cooperation with their governments and appropriate government bodies (Rule 31, §5). Quite often governments intervene in the operation of sports institutions to an extent that violates the autonomy of sports associations or federations, and even of the NOC, either through financial support by means of regular or special grants, or through legislative provisions. Such intervention becomes easier when government support leads to financial dependence. NOCs should, therefore, organize their relationship with the government in a way that ensures that the support they receive does not turn into subordination and dependence.

The fact that the European Parliament has been dealing with this problem since 2009 shows how serious it is. The “White Paper on Sport,” sets out the guidelines that will create the future framework of the European Policy for Sport, taking into account the specific nature of sport and respectful of its autonomy and self-governing status (Μ. Μavromatis, 9th Congress of Sports Administration – The Olympic Movement in society, 2008).

Moreover, history teaches us that politics have always been present in the development of the Olympic Movement, since its inception, and participate in all the facets of social life, including sport politics and sport that must live together and establish a general framework of mutual respect (J. A. Samaranch, p.88).

If NOCs realize that there are political interventions that abolish the autonomy of the Olympic Movement in their country, or that the principles of the Olympic Charter are not respected, they should immediately notify the IOC and ask for its help.

### The Obligations Of NOCs And Financial Resources

The NOCs have the exclusive powers for the representation of their country at the Olympic Games and world competitions and must participate in the Games of the Olympiad by sending athletes (Rule 31, § 3). This means that they also have the obligation to develop Olympic preparation programs to enable their athletes, if they cannot win a medal, to participate in a fitting manner. The problem of the athletes’ preparation in those difficult economic conditions is extremely complex. Already since the beginning of the last decade, it has become clear that there will be cut-downs in government grants in the future, and several governments have communicated their views and encouraged their National Federations and NOCs to seek new sources of financing for sport. In return, they propose concluding agreements with private sponsors. The Greek government, in the context of its austerity program, has already reduced by 20% the Federation’s budget for 2010. In my opinion, the end of government grants, for NOCs in particular, will be a serious blow to sports promotion and development. What’s more, under difficult economic conditions, even the most traditional national sponsors (banks, foundations, enterprises, etc.) are reluctant. For the National Sponsorships ‘experiment’ to succeed, NOCs will have to ask their governments to introduce by law significant tax reliefs, equal to the amounts offered, to provide some kind of incentive to sports sponsors.

I also believe that NOCs should re-assess their sports need In order to reduce expenses by developing a National Sports Plan with priorities and new objectives. This can be achieved by ranking the sports that each NOC will support for Olympic preparation. Specialized studies by sports experts will be needed to establish which sports people like best combined with the country’s sports tradition and citizens’ physical and psychological conditions. Let me give you the example of Greece, a country with a population of 11 million, that finances from the state budget 32 Federations of Olympic Sports (28 summer and 4 winter sports) and approximately 20 Federations of non-Olympic Sports. This cannot go on under the present conditions. It is an enormous waste! Each NOC should, therefore, select, based on strict criteria, the sports to be financed for Olympic preparation among those that have a strong chance of doing well at the Olympics. This choice should be reasoned and based on documented research. Sports that will not be selected could be developed by means of private sponsors’ funds. If their athletes achieve good performances, these sports could then be funded by the State Budget or join the NOC Olympic Preparation Program. In this way, promising sports will obtain larger amounts, while the development of the other sports will continue to be encouraged.

### Olympic Preparation Programs

As already mentioned, NOCs have exclusive powers for the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games. This means an additional responsibility for the good appearances of their athletes. Until the Seoul Games (1988), there was no limit to the number of entries. However, faced with the problem of gigantism as new sports were added to the Olympic program, the IOC decided that from the Barcelona Games (1992) onward the number of competitors should not exceed 10,000. This is still the case today, apart from a few exceptions. To ensure that this maximum number will not be exceeded, the IOC, in cooperation with the IFs concerned, every four years establishes, qualification criteria and limits that are different for each (individual-team) sport wishing to ensure participation of athletes from all continents, as well as top level performances. Moreover, in order to help developing countries that are represented by less than six athletes, the IOC may decide to offer a small number of one or two places in each sport. This could also be the case for countries whose athletes failed to meet the IOC’s criteria. The aim of this decision is to allow all countries to participate symbolically and propagate the world spirit of Olympism. Under these new conditions, the NOC of a country that does not have top performance sports and wishes to be represented at the Olympic Games, even by one athlete, should present the relevant request to the IOC that will decide following consultation with the International Federation concerned and the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games. The above clearly show that NOCs must develop programs for the Olympic Preparation of their athletes. The working-out of this program should start right after the closing of the Olympic Games, setting as time horizon the opening of the next celebration of the Games.

The program should also establish, from the very beginning, the selection criteria and limits for the athletes and teams whose Olympic preparation will be supported, depending on the NOC’s objectives each time. This is an objective system that ensures transparency and prevents any political or other interference. During a first stage, based on the criteria, the athletes of the pre-Olympic team will be selected by means of this system. It would, however, be useful for each NOC to set up a special Olympic Preparation Commission whose members would remain, for the whole four-year period, in close contact with the Federations and the athletes to help them solve any problems and guide them. I think it would be a good idea to mention the five main areas on which the Olympic Preparation Program should focus, in my view:

1. The legal framework that governs sports, which should also include incentives for athletes of all levels.
2. The planning of the sports programs of the country’s federations. This planning should include: (a) the training schedule (in the country and abroad), (b) the competition schedule (for qualifications, goals), (c) scientific support (ergometrics, sports medicine, physiotherapy, psychology, etc.)
3. Planning control and monitoring by the NOC.
4. Assistance and support by state bodies, mainly the Ministries of Education, Defence, Health, Labour, etc.
5. Financing of programs from the state budget. It should be noted here that the IOC does not give NOCs any finances for their Olympic preparation. However, as we will see further on, direct financial assistance can be provided to elite athletes through Olympic Solidarity.

At this point, it is worth noting that the Hellenic Olympic Committee developed in 1986 for the first time an Olympic Preparation Program for the Olympic Games with limits and criteria for the athletes who would be taking part in the Seoul 1988 Olympics. These criteria were accepted by all Federations when they were submitted to them; however, during the plenary meeting (30.08.1988) that would finalize the list of athletes to be entered for the Games, a number of Federation representatives expressed reservations when it became apparent that wellknown athletes would be excluded from the Games because they failed to meet the criteria and limits. In the end, by an overwhelming majority (23–2), the Plenary of the Hellenic Olympic Committee decided to respect the criteria. As could be expected, after the announcement of the Olympic Team from which some famous names were missing, there was a general outcry against the decision on the part of the athletes who had been excluded and by their Federations. Moreover, there were also some unexpected political reactions. The aunt of an excluded sailing athlete, who was Deputy Minister of Education, resigned after denouncing the Hellenic Olympic Committee and demanded the athlete’s Inclusion in the Olympic Team.

Despite strong reactions and unbearable pressure, the Committee did not change its decision, and so the criteria and Olympic Preparation Programs were established in this way and are regularly readjusted. These programs proved to be extremely useful. Greece, from a single medal in the 1988 Olympic Games, reaped 16 medals in 2004 and has achieved excellent results in all sports at the international level. For history, let me mention that the excluded athlete who was 18 at the time won three Olympic medals at the next Olympiads, is still competing today, and represents a shining example for our youth, a model of sports ethics and fair play, and offers huge services to sports education.

### The IOC’s Financial Support To NOCs

NOCs can, under certain conditions, obtain financial support from the IOC through the Olympic Solidarity Commission. This Commission, in accordance with Rule 8 of the Olympic Charter, is responsible for the management and redistribution of the share of the television rights from the broadcasting of the Olympic Summer and Winter Games, which belongs to the NOCs and represents 6%. The Commission is chaired by the President of the IOC, and it develops programs for technical, educational, and financial assistance. These programs are numerous and varied, and their aim is to promote the development of sport, from grass root to top performance level throughout the world, by helping athletes in each country.

NOCs have the right to use all these programs that enable them to implement their activities and draw upon the financial benefits resulting from the celebration of the Olympic Games in order to develop and support sport in their countries.

Today, there are 21 programs that cover four main areas of action: athletes, coaches, NOC management, and special issues. These programs help developing countries, in particular, and those facing financial difficulties, in the last stage of their athletes’ preparation for the Olympic Games.

1. Athletes: (a) preparation in training centers and participation in qualifying competitions, (b) individual scholarships for participation in the Olympic Games, (c) identification of new talents at national level. The athlete is the central figure of the Olympic Games.
2. Coaches: The coach’s role for the athletes’ preparation is pivotal. The object of these programs is to offer coaches the possibility to acquire the necessary technical knowledge with the help of specialized programs, such as,

* technical courses at national and regional level for all sports;
* Scholarships on sports science subjects in academic establishments and training in specific sports; and
* development of the national coaching structure with the support of a foreign coach who will train national coaches, training programs, etc.

3. NOCs can use and benefit from programs of

* administration assistance, technological and IT support and electronic communication, marketing;
* sports administration for NOC officials; and
* further education of their country’s sports administrators.

4.Finally, NOCs are given the opportunity to draw upon Olympic Solidarity’s programs concerning the Environment, Women for Culture and Education, Sports Medicine, Sports for All, etc.

### NOCs – The Problem Of Doping And Violence

As mentioned already, the problem of doping and violence originated in the previous century. Unfortunately, despite the efforts that were made in this first decade, far from diminishing, they are steadily increasing.

Doping, in particular, is the scourge of modern sport. Doping cases have not dropped. Random, out-of-competition controls, as well as those performed during the Olympic Games, show, in fact, that their number is rising. Some theoreticians report that the IOC and the NOCs, despite the Olympic Charter’s strict provision (Rule 31, §2.6), did not realize from the start, the magnitude of the problem; they reacted with laxity and leniency and failed to arrive at a precise definition of doping. This view is partly correct, for it is true that the IOC for the first time in 1987 (94th Session) encouraged governments to apply the general legislative measures on combating drugs and to adopt specific laws for doping. Until then, the use of banned substances and methods was only punishable by disciplinary sanctions, as it was considered to be just a sports offence. Very few countries, including Greece (1975), considered this to be a criminal offence as well, entailing harsh sanctions against user athletes, and even harsher for traffickers and pushers. I was among the first who affirmed that doping was also a criminal offence, as it harms: (a) the athlete’s health, (b) sport’s social and cultural role, and (c) the authenticity of the sports result (cf. IOC 1986). Closing this subject, I believe that doping is the outcome of sport’s commercialization, which has permeated the Olympic Movement. The gold bars and the astronomical bonuses handed out at the different Grand Prix, drive athletes to the use of banned substances. Furthermore, the commercial contracts that top athletes are allowed to sign with different sponsor companies of the Olympic Games for their products’ promotion, in addition to acting as an incentive for greater efforts, are also an incentive for higher profits, which will also lead to the use of banned substances. In this way, one of the fundamental principles of the Olympic Movement, the principle of _fair play,_ is abolished.

I am not a pessimist, but I am worried about these very close contacts with huge financial Interests.

Violence is a phenomenon, which has existed since man was born, and has remained, through time, a major component of human life in all its manifestations that has grown periodically.

Sport, which is closely linked to social life, could not prevent the arrival of violence in its domain, all the more so since competition is one of the elements of sport. We are talking about the violence that breaks out inside and outside sports venues, often with tragic results, as people lose their lives or are seriously wounded, and facilities extensively damaged. Violent incidents were originally limited to football matches, but, as time went on and the phenomenon became stronger, these incidents also occurred during the meetings of other team events.

As the number of these incidents was growing after the Heysel tragedy (1985), European governments were compelled to sign the European Convention on Violence at Sports Events (1986). Furthermore, in 1997, the European Union included in its program for combating criminality the amount of 600 million euros for the period 2007-2013. At the same time, the Council of Europe adopted a Code of Sports Ethics.

All the above measures, combined with Rule 31, paragraph 2.5, of the Olympic Charter, do not appear able to control this social phenomenon that is steadily expanding.

In this area, NOCs are invited to take action in order to support the ideological framework of Olympism. This should be an educational action, for this lasting phenomenon has shown that repressive measures alone are not enough. Sports education and Olympic philosophy must become part of school educational programs. This will lead to prevention that is far better than repression.

### NOC Marketing And The Commercialization Of Olympism

There is no doubt that in the days of Juan Antonio Samaranch’s presidency (1980-200), the Olympic Movement achieved financial independence, mainly through the exploitation of TV rights and marketing activities under the TOP program. At the same time, however, the number of athletes was growing, as new sports that had interest for only a limited number of sports fans were added. This led to the gigantism of the Olympic Games and to the considerable expansion of their program. The IOC became aware of the problem and decided to remove a number of sports but added others. The risk of commercialization was very much present, and it was important to achieve a delicate balance, in the marketing sector, in particular, to prevent the selling off of the Olympic Idea and Symbols (Olympic emblem, Olympic flame, etc.) in return for financial profits.

NOCs can improve their finances by offering, with caution, their emblems to National Sponsors, in accordance with the Olympic Charter.

Sport today becomes identified with business activity. Each sector sustains the other. Owners of big teams, athletes’ and coaches’ managers, fan clubs, etc., are involved in these transactions. The commercialization of sport is linked to the globalization of the economy and the domination of multinationals to the detriment of the real values of Olympism. I believe that the NOCs, through their representatives who are IOC members, should sound the alarm, because if this situation persists, sport will become the image of capital and capital the image of sport. However, one of the IOC’s powerful figures, R. Pound, affirms that without commercialization and because of the enormous cost of staging the Olympic Games, no government would be able to meet the expenses of such a huge and costly event.

### Epilogue

It is quite possible that, to quote Michael Paine, the IOC’s Marketing Director:

> The Olympic Games have avoided disaster and become the best known franchise brand. The answer though comes from the past, from Pierre de Coubertin himself, ‘My friends and I have not worked to give you the Olympic Games so that they will be turned into a museum object or a subject for the movies (there was no TV at the time), nor so that commercial or political interest should take them over.’

I leave it to you to draw the conclusions.

2013-11-25T17:35:06-05:00August 5th, 2010|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Management|Comments Off on The National Olympic Committee: Its Role and Position at the Dawn of the 21st Century

The Institutional Framework for the Development of Olympic Education and the Role of the National Olympic Academy

### Introduction

The title of my contribution is exactly as requested of me by the International Olympic Academy (IOA). However, the methodology adopted and the contents of this paper may disappoint my hosts, as I am not going to focus solely on the role of the National Olympic Academies (NOA).

Let me give the reasons for the approach I have adopted. It is my view that Olympic education is a complex process and that, therefore, given the current text of the Olympic Charter, the institutional framework of an NOA is very dependent on the institutional architecture and intersection between the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the National Olympic Committees (NOC), and the IOA. Hence, I am of the opinion that any analysis must necessarily be holistic or transversal, and less sectorial.

This paper can accordingly be broken down into two separate steps. Once I have demonstrated the fundamental importance of the Olympic Charter (OC), I will identify and give a necessarily brief analysis of its main provisions that are expressly or tacitly related to Olympic education, in either material or, above all, institutional terms. Finally, and given the lacunae identified, I will take the liberty to suggest a new treatment of Olympic education in the OC by proposing some changes in its current text with the intention to facilitate the Olympic education chain.

### The Olympic Charter: Definition and Status

In the Introduction to the OC, its form and purpose are immediately made apparent: the codification of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, Rules, and Bye-laws adopted by the IOC. The OC governs the organization, action, and operation of the Olympic Movement and sets forth the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games.

In the Introduction, the scope of the OC is also set forth, by referring to the three main purposes which, in essence, the OC aims to serve: (a) a basic instrument of a constitutional nature, which governs and recalls the fundamental principles and essential values of Olympism; (b) the statutes for the IOC; (c) the definition of the “main reciprocal rights and obligations of the three main constituents of the Olympic Movement, namely the IOC, IF (International Federations) and the NOC, as well as the Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOG).”

In legal terms, the Olympic Charter is just a document approved by corporate body under Swiss private law (IOC). However, “in the eyes of” the IOC as well as of the whole Olympic Movement, the OC amounts to a full fledged international treaty, with a universal legal nature, which is not a result of its legal nature, but arises rather by virtue of a moral authority, of an extra-legal element, that is, the social, economic, and sporting magnitude of the Olympic Games. Only this context can express a general acceptance of the legal primacy of the OC by states, international organizations, and different courts.

It follows from all of the above that despite being an atypical legal instrument, the OC has a unique, universal, inspiring, and powerful nature. Hence, all provided or silent in the text of the OC reveals what the CIO considers to be or not to be important for the Olympic Movement. That is the case of the existent and omitted provisions regarding Olympic education.

### “Olympic Education” at the Olympic Charter: an Overview of the Relevant Provisions

Olympic education is enshrined in the OC either explicitly or implicitly. The relevant Principles and Rules are identified and analyzed below.

First Fundamental Principle of Olympism:

> 1. Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will, and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

#### Rule 1 (Composition and General Organisation of the Olympic Movement)

> 1. Under the supreme authority of the International Olympic Committee, the Olympic Movement encompasses organisations, athletes, and other persons who agree to be guided by the Olympic Charter. The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised in accordance with Olympism and its values.

It follows from these provisions that the first priority of the Olympic Movement is much more than the periodic holding of the Olympic Games. The objective is clear: to contribute to World Peace. Olympic values are what the Olympic Movement has to offer in order to achieve this objective. Sport is the essential vehicle. The education of young people is the essential means. This is what Olympic education is.

Using the analogy of a major construction project, the IOC is both the architect and the entity that awards the contract for the works, and there are many organisations to which these contracts are awarded. According to the Tender Programme and the Works Specifications stipulated by the IOC, the works are carried out by the said organisations under the supervision of the IOC. The works, which must take place on a daily basis, are sports activity, which must be undertaken by all of the contractors. The cement, without which there can be no construction, is Olympic Education.

>1. For a comprehensive analysis of the status and content of the Olympic Charter, cf. Alexandre Miguel MESTRE, The Law of the Olympic Games, The Hague, Cambridge University Press & TMC Asser Press, 2009, pp. 9-20.
>2. The Fundamental Principles were introduced at the 1979 version of the OC. One of the aims of the Olympic movement was already to educate young people through sport.
>3. This is just a subjective interpretation. Unfortunately, the OC does not define the concept of Olympic education. In defence of the specificity of all things Olympic, we consider that the OC could go further, i.e. by defining what Olympic education is and what its distinguishing features are. This is because, for example, there is education via sport in non-Olympic sports. Moreover, even outside of sport, education is commonly linked with culture and youth and it makes sense that the preferred targets of educational processes are young people, because their character and personality are in the process of formation. There would certainly be more ethics in business or politics if those involved received an ethical education. It is therefore necessary to clarify the following: Are we dealing here with something that Olympism disseminates or with something, which is received from outside and is included in the OC?

> (…) The IOC’s role is:
> 1. to encourage and support the promotion of ethics in sport as well as education of youth through sport and to dedicate its efforts to ensuring that, in sport, the spirit of fair play prevails and violence is banned;
> (…)
> 13. to encourage and support a responsible concern for environmental issues, to promote sustainable development in sport, and to require that the Olympic Games are held accordingly;
> (…)
> 15. to encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education;
> 16. to encourage and support the activities of the International Olympic Academy (IOA) and other institutions which dedicate themselves to Olympic education.

#### Rule 2 (Mission and Role of the IOC)

This outlines a rule with legal value, not a merely programmatic one, because it gives the IOC specific duties in the field of education. In fact, it recognizes a right of Olympic education with a legal value, which turns that right into an obligation, in casu, an obligation of the IOC. Rather than directly governing that obligation, the rule governs the role of the CIO in the context of that obligation. In other words, this rule gives some discretionary power to the IOC: there is an IOC obligation as to result – to encourage and support – not an obligation of means.

In our opinion, to encourage and support implies a generic mandate of action that is required from the CIO, which is ensured by necessary positive actions. It is expected that the CIO adopts its own actions and simultaneously encourages, enables, stimulates, and authorizes activities from third parties. In fact, what the OC seems to ask the IOC is to promote (Olympic) education through (Olympic) sport and to promote the activities carried out by academic institutions in the pursuit of their Olympic education goals.

The single academic institution which merits an express reference in the provision under analysis is the IOA, an institution that has emerged as a way to compensate for IOC’s lack of time to devote to Olympic education so that it fulfills “delegated” competences which originally belonged to the IOC. Contrary to the past, the legislator does not mention the IOA’s mission.

> 4. The first time the word education appeared in an Olympic regulation was in 1933. In the document entitled “The IOC and the Modern Olympic Games,” physical education was mentioned.
> 5. At the IOC Session in Athens in 1961, Avery Brundage said he expected the newly founded Academy to make decisive efforts to overcome the difficulties the Olympic movement had to face. The unexpected development of the Olympic Games did not leave enough time for the IOC to work equally for all Olympic principles. The gap was to be closed by the Olympic Academy, cf. Norbert MÜLLER. One Hundred Years of Olympic Congresses 1894-1994, Special Edition for Participants in the Centennial Olympic Congress, Paris/August/September 1994, p. 146.
> 6. The 1966 Olympic Regulations have introduced a reference to the IOA, describing its objectives as follows:(…) to create an international cultural centre at Olympia, site of the ancient Games where the high ideals of amateur

The provision under analysis also mentions the NOA. Inspired by the work of the IOA , there are hundreds of NOAs around the world which undertake Olympic education initiatives within NOAs own educational jurisdictions, complementing the IOA activities.

However, we must reflect on the following reality that neither the IOA nor the NOA are subject to an express reference in documents that govern or describe the Olympic Movement, which immediately casts doubt on their institutional role and recognition, as well as on their level of subjection to the rights and obligations that these documents provide. Here are some examples of those documents: the IOC Code of Ethics, which applies to Olympic parties; one publication of the IOC Olympic Museum , which describes the role of the Olympic Family in the framework of Education and Culture Through Sport; a factsheet about the Olympic Movement elaborated by the IOC; a publication of the International Olympic Truce Centre; the IOC Guide on Sport, Environment, and Sustainable Development.

This reality can be seen either as the motive or the consequence of the main problem faced nowadays in Olympic education. Kostas GEORGIADIS , Honorary Dean of the IOA, and Conrado DURANTÈZ, President of the Spanish Olympic Academy, there are still many more NOCs than NOAs; several of the NOAs are not always very active or independent. In this clear diagnosis, Kostas GEORGIADIS puts forward a solution: [t]oday, more than ever before, the International Olympic Committee is called upon to support the work of the International Olympic Academy and, thereby, of National Olympic Academies.

Competitive sport were first conceived and realized, and to study and to promote the social, educational, aesthetical, ethical, and spiritual values of the Olympic Movement.

> 7.Cf. Nikos FILARETOS, National Olympic Academies”, International Olympic Academy: 9th International Session for Presidents or Directors of National Olympic Academies and Officials of National Olympic Committees, 12-19 May 2008, Ancient Olympia, Greece, 12-19 May 2008.
> 8.Cf. Deanna BONDER, “The Legacy of the Olympic Games for Education, 1984-2000: A Paper presented to the 2002 IOC Symposium on the Legacy of the Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, November 2002, p. 8.
> 9.Cf. K. TOOHEY and A.J VEAL, The Olympic Games. A Social Science Perspective, 2nd Edition, London, Cabi, 2007, p. 55.
> 10. The Olympic Movement, 2nd edition, 2007.
> 11. Factsheet: The Olympic Movement Update- January 2006.
> 12. In a report made by DEMOS-Athens (Rachel Briggs, Helen McCARTHY and Alexis ZORBAS) to the International Olympic Truce Centre, a Figure with the “Institutional setting of the world of sport” makes no reference to the IOA or to the NOA – Cf. 16 Days: The role of the Olympic Truce in the toolkit for peace, London, International Olympic Truce Centre, 2004, p. 64.
> 13.Cf. National Olympic Academies”, International Olympic Academy: 9th International Session for Presidents or Directors of National Olympic Academies and Officials of National Olympic Committees, 12-19 May 2008, Ancient Olympia, Greece, 12-19 May 2008, pp. 1-3.
> 14.(…) we find ourselves in the disproportionate situation of having 205 officially recognized NOCs, nut only 137 NOAs with a large percentage of these being purely nominal and not engaged in any regular or ongoing activity, contrary to what should be the case. (…) we consider that the task of Olympic education lies fundamentally and almost exclusively with the NOCs (…) We cannot but admit that the NOCs, excessively centered on preparing their athletes for participation in the Olympic Games, have delegated their Olympic dissemination and education functions to the NOAs, hence the importance of the NOAs’ work, as the proper functioning of an NOA, with the necessary support of its NOC, implies that it can, as the specific educational driving force, promote and encourage all or part of the rich cultural areas of Olympism, cf. “Olympic Academies: official school of Olympic Education”, 6th World Forum on Sport, Education and Culture: Sport and Education for the new generation, IOC – International Cooperation and Development Department, Busan, 25 to 27 September 2008.

We can not agree more. Indeed, if one looks at the above mentioned Rule 2 of the Olympic Charter, we find that the leading role that is given to the IOC is not the organization of the Olympic Games, and, of course, this hierarchy of priorities is also shed in the NOC, namely the case of the British Olympic Association, which is explained by Jim PARRY .

Note the word used by Kostas GEORGIADIS- support – which is precisely the one provided by the OC. The question seems not to be limited to financial support, moreover, because it has been in existence through Olympic Solidarity, as the author points out in his other article, and as is demonstrated by the Director of the IOC International Cooperation and Development Department GANDA SITHOLE . In fact, mainly in Africa, besides the lack of financial and substantial resources, support is also needed to fight ordinary problems, such as lack of facilities, lack of teachers, lack of materials for education and teaching. Therefore other kinds of support are urgently needed. As far as we are concerned, that support could be the reinforcement of the IOA status within the OC, which would probably overcome its current lack of recognition by other relevant stakeholders in the framework of Olympic education.

The expression, educational institutions which dedicate themselves to Olympic education, is broad enough to include public and private institutions, governmental organizations dedicated to education, national or international. Fit here, therefore, institutions ranging from schools to the IOC Olympic Studies Centre; the Institutes of Higher Education and Olympic Study Centres across the world; the IPCC (International Pierre de Coubertin Committee); the International Olympic Truce Foundation, and the International Truce Centre, or the UNESCO .

We believe that what is essentially the scope of the CIO is to encourage and support not only through financial resources, but also by means of infrastructures – creation or lending of infrastructures, namely for research centres – or by the provision of services. The support can be also given through granting of honorific recognition for the objectives of general interest pursued by the IOA and the remaining institutions devoted to Olympic education. A broader interpretation of the word ‘support’ will lead to defend a stronger role of the IOC, that is, a support that goes through direct actions of intervention, including the dictation of organizational, structural, and regulatory aspects of the academic institutions at stake, i.e. mechanisms of ordinance and interventionism, something that does not seem to be the real intention of the legislator and of the bodies concerned.

> 15.Cf. “Olympic education in practice,” A paper prepared for the Centre d’Estudis Olímpics (CEO), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), November 2003, p.3.
> 16.Cf. “The endeavors for the IOC for the promotion of Olympic Education Programmes in developing countries,” Proceedings of the 8th Joint International Session for Presidents or Directors of National Olympic Academies and officials of National Olympic Committees, 23-30 May 2006, Ancient Olympia, International Olympic Academy, pp. 43-44.
> 17.Cf. Roland NAUL, Olympic Education, Oxford, Meyer & Meyer Sport, 2008, p. 83.
> 18. In the section dedicated to Pseudo Amateurs of the 1956 Olympic Regulations, one can find a reference to educational institutions.
> 19.Cf. paragraph 6 of the Le Havre Congress Final Declaration (1997).
> 20.Cf. the Preamble and Rules 2.3; 3.3; 10.1; 10.2; and 10.3 of the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport.

So far as the environment is concerned, it is noteworthy that contrary to the current version, the original version of paragraph 13 referred to the essential role of education in the promotion of the defence of the environment in the context of sport in general and the Olympic Games in particular. Only via education is it possible to create an overall awareness of the need to preserve the environment, i.e. in the context of major sport events, particularly the Olympic Games. The values shared between the areas of the environment and sport could be the starting points for this educational project which is a duty of all of us. The IOC has not only included the environment in the Olympic Charter, but has also produced information and held regional conferences and seminars.

We believe, however, that the legislator that is, the IOC members in the framework of the IOC Session – should have even opted for a more comprehensive formulation to give the greatest possible effect to a residual expression. One should bear in mind that there are some other and relevant institutions that are not, by nature, educational, but perform a significant educational role in the context of sport. We refer, for example, to organizations like the European Union , the Council of Europe , the IPC (International Paralympic Committee), WADA (World Anti-doping Agency), CIJM (The International Mediterranean Games Committee), Panathlon International and FISU (The International University Sports Federation).

Moreover, there are increasing public and private institutions not devoted to education and sport, but with which cooperation can be developed, namely at the level of sponsorship, patronage, concessions facilities, etc, as recent NOA experiences have demonstrated, particularly in France and in the USA.

Also noteworthy is the rules view, with which I agree, that education is not and cannot be a wholly isolated phenomena. Education always involves synergies, namely with young people, culture, and Olympism. That approach explains why the IOC is endowed with the Commission for Culture and Olympic Education, which resulted from the merger between the Commission for the Olympic Education and the Commission for the Olympic Culture, in 2000, under the then great reform undertaken in the IOC.

> 21. The text of the former Rule 2 (13) stated as follows: (…) the IOC sees that the Olympic Games are held in conditions which demonstrate a responsible concern for environmental issues and encourages the Olympic Movement to demonstrate a responsible concern in its activities and educates all those connected with the Olympic Movement as to the importance of sustainable development.
> 22.Cf., inter alia, the Manual on Sport and the Environment (1997) and Le Mouvement Olympique et l’Environment (1997) and Guide on Sport, Environment and Sustainable Development (2006).
> 23.Cf. Article 165 TFEU.
> 24.Cf. Articles 1(ii); 3 (2); 5; and 11 of the European Sports Charter; cf. the definition of fair-play provided in the Code of Sport Ethics; cf. Article 6 of the Council of Europe No. 135 Anti-Doping Convention.
> 25.Cf. Chapters 1.1 and 2.4 of the IPC Bye-laws.
> 26.Cf. World Anti-doping Code, namely its Fundamental Rationale and the Articles 10.10.1; 18.1; 18.2; 18.4; 19.1; 20.1.9; 20.2.8; 20.3.11; 20.4.9; 20.6.7 and 20.7.6.
> 27.Cf. Charte du CIJM: Principes Fondamentaux – 2; 3; and 9.
> 28.Cf. Article 2 (c); (e); and (h) of the Panathlon International’s Bye-laws.
> 29.Cf. Article 2 of the Statutes of FISU. Pursuant to Article 138 of the same statutes, the Committee for the Study of University Sport (CESU) – is one of the FISU Permanent Committees.
> 30.Cf. André LECLERCQ, “Postface: Culture sportive et education olympique”, in Les valeurs de l’Olympisme. Un modèle éducatif en débat, Edited by Michaël ATTALi, Jean SAINT-MARTIN, Simon LEVEQUE, Lucien BRUNETTI and Jean BIZET, L’Harmattan, 2009, p. 268.
> 31.Cf. Jeff HOWARD, “La creation d’une Académie Olympique aux États-Unis”, in Marketing des organizations sportives: construire les réseaux et les relations, Edited by Alain FERRAND, Scott McCARTHY and Thierry ZINTZ, Brussels, Éditions De Boeck Université, 2009, p. 181. The NOA is one of the main constituents of USOC; it is at the center and interacts with USOC, IOC, regular participants, athletes, and the general public – cf. p. 187.

Notwithstanding the fact that this amalgamation or consolidation into a single Commission merger aimed to add efforts to achieve greater accomplishments, and, at least theoretically, of trying to solve the contradictions behind the traditional Olympic sport, culture and education, the truth is that some consider that its action Commission still has a relatively low impact, hold doubts as to its functionality and have reservations about joining the educational and cultural agendas.

Contrary to the option in the past, this Commission is not explicitly mentioned in the OC, which leads us to conclude that this commission is not included among the groups of the most important ones.

#### Rule 5 (Olympic Solidarity)

The aim of Olympic Solidarity is.

> (…)
> 6. to collaborate with organisations and entities pursuing such objectives, particularly through Olympic education and the propagation of sport. (Emphasis added)

Once again, the contours of Olympic education take priority, as a cement for works out of the CIO, in casu, the operation of the mechanism of Olympic Solidarity. Contrary to past versions of the OC (from 1991 to 1996 ), no mention is made in this rule to the interplay between the Olympic Solidarity and the IOC Commissions, namely the one which deals with Olympic education.

> 32. The symbiosis between education and culture within the Olympic domain was evidenced in Rule 25 of the 1954 Olympic Regulations by the inclusion of the expression, ‘cultural education,’ in the context of the NOC missions.
> 33.Cf. Juan Antonio SAMARANCH, Memorias Olímpicas, Barcelona, Planeta Singular, 2002, p. 131.
> 34.Cf. Beatriz GARCIA, “One hundred years of cultural programming within the Olympic Games (1912-2012): origins, evolution and projections,” in International Journal of Cultural Policy, Vol. 14, No. 4, November 2008, pp. 374-375.
> 35.Cf. Paulo DAVID, Human rights in youth sport: a critical review of children’s rights in competitive sports, London, Routledge, 2005, p. 254.
> 36.Cf. Beatriz GARCÍA, Towards a Cultural Policy for Great Events – Local and Global Issues in the Definition of the Olympic Games Cultural Programme: Lessons from the Sydney Olympic Arts Festivals 1997-2000, PhD Thesis, November 2002, pp. 46-51.
> 37. The Commission for the International Olympic Academy was expressly recognized in the IOC Regulation of 1975, as well as the 1979 and 1980 (Provisional edition) versions of the Olympic Charter, by being in the first place on the IOC Commission’s list, which demonstrated its “leadership.” Additionally, its aims were expressly indicated: to assist the Ephoria set up by the Hellenic Olympic Committee in the choice of its programme and speakers, and to promote the Olympic ideal. It also ensures that reports from the Academy which receive the patronage of the IOC are presented to the IOC.
> 38. Aunque, como acaba de decirse, no hay un numerus clausus de comisiones del COI, la Carta Olímpica contiene algunas previsiones respecto de las más importantes, cf. Carmen CHINCHILLA MARÍN:, Los Juegos Olímpicos: La elección de la sede y otras cuestiones jurídicas, Madrid, Civitas, 2009, p. 130.
> 39. In 1991, the Bye-law to Rule 8 stated as follows: The objectives of the programmes established by Olympic Solidarity are to contribute to: (…) 5. Collaborating with the various IOC Commissions, particularly with the Commission for the International Olympic Academy, the Medical Commission, the Sport for All Commission and the Commission for the Olympic Programme, as well as with the organizations and entities pursuing such objectives, particularly through Olympic education and propagation of sport.

#### Rule 27 (Mission and Role of the IFs within the Olympic Movement)

> (…)
> 1.3 to contribute to the achievement of the goals set out in the Olympic Charter, in particular by way of the spread of Olympism and Olympic education.

Since the 1996 edition of the Olympic Charter (the then Rule 30, paragraph 1.3), the third mission allocated to the IF is Olympic education.

#### Rule 28 (Mission and Role of the NOCs)

> (…)
> 2. The NOC’s role is:
> 2.1 to promote the fundamental principles and values of Olympism in their countries, in particular, in the fields of sport and education, by promoting Olympic educational programmes in all levels of schools, sports and physical education institutions and universities, as well as by encouraging the creation of institutions dedicated to Olympic education, such as National Olympic Academies, Olympic Museums, and other programmes, including cultural, related to the Olympic Movement.

As with the IOC, the primary mission of the NOC goes beyond competitive sport per se. This approach started in 1954, when the Rule 25 of the IOC Regulations clearly underlined that the NOCs are patriotic organisations not for pecuniary profit, devoted to the promotion and encouragement of the physical, moral, and cultural education of the youth of the nation for the development of character, good health, and good citizenship (Olympic education). Several subsequent regulations in the decades of 50 and 60 added that National Olympic Committees should encourage the development of Olympic spirit among the youth of their countries. They should promote a program of education for the public and the press on the philosophy of amateurism. There is a tendency to concentrate too much on performance and new records and not enough on the social, educational, aesthetic, ethical, and spiritual values of amateur sports.

Once again the legislator opts for demanding encouragement and not for mandatory or compulsory actions. This time the word ‘support’ is even absent. Therefore, an NOC seems not to be formally obliged to create an NOA. Moreover, no sanction is provided for NOC’s lack of initiative in this context. The same applies to Olympic Museums and/or cultural programmes.

#### Rule 10 (The Olympic motto)

The Olympic motto, “Citius – Altius – Fortius,” expresses the aspiration of the Olympic Movement.

Since 1966, the OC devotes a specific rule for the Olympic motto which means, “faster, higher, stronger.” The source of the motto was the famous Dominican priest, Henri Didon, a friend of Pierre de Coubertin, prominent educator, and an enthusiastic promoter of school sports in France at the end of the nineteenth century, who believed that the values which must be complied with in life are frequently learnt from sport.

> 40. This motto, introduced in 1981, was adopted by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894.

#### Bye-law to Rules 7-14

> 1. Legal Protection:
> 1.1 The IOC may take all appropriate steps to obtain the legal protection for itself, on both a national and international basis, of the rights over the Olympic Games and over any Olympic property.
> 1.2 Each NOC is responsible to the IOC for the observance, in its country, of Rules 7-14 and BLR 7-14. It shall take steps to prohibit any use of any Olympic properties which would be contrary to such Rules or their Bye-laws. It shall also endeavour to obtain, for the benefit of the IOC, protection of the Olympic properties of the IOC.

There can be no doubt that the IOC and NOC obligation to fight against ambush marketing can be based on a preventive approach, since it creates awareness among the public and potential offenders of the penalties for contravening the laws which protect the brand. Such awareness necessarily involves education, namely Olympic education, by which can be taught what the Olympic symbols, terminology, and images are, and how they may be used.

#### Bye-law to Rule 49

> 1. It is an objective of the Olympic Movement that, through its contents, the media coverage of the Olympic Games should spread and promote the principles and values of Olympism.

The content of this provision claims two different steps of Olympic education: firstly, media officials should have courses of Olympic education before covering the Olympic Games; secondly, they must promote Olympic education for the spectators and readers.

### Suggestions for Improving Olympic Education through Changes in the Text of the Olympic Charter

Bearing in mind the Olympic education framework supra described, in particular, the current problems faced by the IOA and the NOA, we shall now make some modest suggestions of changes that could be included in the OC in order to recognise the role of Olympic education in an integrated and coherent manner.

It would be definitely incorrect and unfair to state that the OC does not give priority and importance to Olympic education. In this context, the suggestions I am going to make do not fill in any supposed lacuna in the OC, or amount to any break with the current version. However, since it can, in fact, be concluded, as we did earlier, that Olympic Education is the cement of Olympism, we think that it is imperative to search for some alterations to the OC in order to give greater recognition to Olympic education, particularly with regard to its institutional framework.

> 41.Cf. IOC Regulations of 1966.
> 42.Cf. Michaela LOCHMANN, “Les fondaments pédagogiques de la devise olympique “citius, altius, fortius,” in Coubertin et l’Olympisme. Questions pour l’avenir, p. 95 and Fékrou Kidané, “The structure of Olympic Movement,” in World Olympians Association: What an Olympian should know – An Olympian is an Olympian forever…, WOA, 2003, p. 24.
> 43. Last updated on the 11th of February 2010.

I am not unaware that some of these suggestions are no more than a suggestion for the IOC Session to reduce to writing some ideas that have already been implemented in practice. In any event, the legal and extra-legal importance of the Olympic Charter demonstrated in the first part of this text lead us to the inevitable conclusion that in the Olympic field, one symbolic rule can be as important as one substantive legal provision. This is why it can make all the difference whether something is, or is not, included in the Olympic Charter. It makes, indeed, a difference whether the appearance of something in a rule is merely inferred or is clearly stipulated.

In the light of the above, I make the following suggestions:

1. To seek, as far as possible, to increase the specificity of the definition of the concepts that are intrinsic to the Olympic phenomenon, such as Olympism, Olympic Spirit, Olympic Ideal and Olympic Education – otherwise these concepts may be understood as a mere transposition to the context of the Olympic Games of concepts that are extrinsic to sport, such as tolerance, respect, ethics, non-discrimination, or as an adaptation to the context of the Olympic Games of concepts that are common to all sports phenomena and are not exclusive to Olympism, such as sporting spirit, fair play, or education through sport. Furthermore, this clarification could even strengthen the specificity of sport in general and of Olympism in particular, in the context of judicial decisions, in the knowledge that the Olympic spirit influenced a recent decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, and that sports ethics influenced a recent judgment of the EU Court of Justice, which was based on an anti-doping rule adopted by the IOC;

> 44.Cf. A paradigmatic case occurred in 1981, in the framework of the famous 11th Olympic Congress of Baden-Baden. M. V. RAÑA, in his capacity as President of both the ACNO and the Mexican Olympic Committee (… ) proposed that the IOC institutionalise the association of the NOCs (ACNO) in the IOC Charter and transfer financial and technical responsibility for Olympic Solidarity to the organization over which he presided. This proposal was obviously not a mere whim. The aim was to include an express reference in the Olympic Charter to an existing organisation, not only with a view to the recognition or configuration of its institutional importance, but, above all, with a view to the inclusion of a provision, which would enable the said organisation to receive (more) funds from Olympic Solidarity. Cf. Norbert MÜLLER, One Hundred Years of Olympic Congresses 1894-1994, Special Edition for Participants in the Centennial Olympic Congress, Paris/August/September 1994, p. 179.
> 45.Cf. also the recommendations issued for the XIII Olympic Congress by Sergio CAMARGO, from the Guatemalan Olympic Committee. Among several other recommendations put forward to help promote the development of Olympic Values, we underline the following: (i) A specific rule concerning the International Olympic Academy, its aims and objectives, as well as it fields of action, should be included in Chapter 1 of the Charter and would constitute the legal support for its functioning; (ii) A rule should be included in Chapter 4 of the Olympic Charter, making it obligatory for all National Olympic Committees to have a National Olympic Academy as a permanent body and ensuring that all its objectives and aims for which it is established are fulfilled; (iii) The establishment of the Olympic Academy should also be made an obligatory requisite for an NOC to participate in the Olympic Games, Continental, and Regional Games.
> 46.Cf. Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Year of Education through Sport 2004, SOC/092, Brussels, 24 April 2002, CES 516/2002 FR/MEV/nm.
> 47.Cf. CAS 2008/A11622 FC Schalke 04 v. FIFA; CAS 2008/A/1623 SV Werder Bremen v./FIFA; CAS 20081A/1624 FC Barcelona v. FIFA; Decision reached 6 August 2008, Causa Sport 4/2008, p. 388).
> 48.Cf. Judgment of the Court of 18 July 2006, Meca-Medina, Case C-519/04 P, ECR 2006, p. I-6991.

2. To expressly identify the IOA and the NOA as parts of the Olympic Movement. I consider that, as Olympic education is the cement of Olympism, it would make sense for the IOA and the NOA to be considered one of the main parts of the Olympic Movement, as is already the case of the IOC, the NOC, and the IF. If this is not acceptable, a new solution should at least be adopted, which differs from the current position in which the IOA and the NOA are only part of the Olympic Movement when they are recognised by the IOC. Such recognition has already been granted to dozens of organisations, many of which have only a tenuous connection with Olympism;
3. To include the IOC Educational and Cultural Commission within the Permanent IOC Commissions that are expressly identified in the OC , thus giving it the status it deserves – and that was recognised in past OC’s editions – and sending a message both within the IOC and externally as to the substantive and inherently institutional importance of Olympic education. This solution could, as it were, put the Olympic academies “on the map.” Symbolism matters, and if the OC does not make the point, it will be more difficult to change the status quo that is marked by an absence of references to the Olympic Academies in the Bylaws and Regulations of many organisations involved in education through sport and even in Olympic education. This omission has evident practical consequences, e.g. the level of the involvement of the Olympic Academies in inter-institutional co-operation mechanisms is either non-existent or insufficient;
4. To reintroduce at the OC an explicit reference to the educational aspects related to environment protection;
5. To make the consideration of Olympic Education Programmes to be developed by the OGOC as obligatory a criterion for the selection of a city as are the organisers of the Olympic Summer Games, the Olympic Winter Games and the Olympic Youth Games;
6. To take into consideration the pedagogical features of the candidates in the rationale for being an IOC member and for including a sport, discipline, or event in the Programme of the Olympic Games.

> 49. Currently, the IOC has 26 Commissions. The Bye-law to Rule 21 of the Olympic Charter makes express reference just to the following: the IOC Athletes’ Commission; the IOC Ethics Commission; the IOC Nominations Commission; the Olympic Solidarity Commission; the Evaluation Commissions for Candidate Cities; the Olympic Games Coordination Commissions; the IOC Medical Commission.
> 50. One must remember the following text included in the “Information for cities which desire to stage the Olympic Games” (1957): The following requirements have to be met by the Organising Committee: The Olympic Games are a great festival of the youth of the world and the social, educational, esthetic, ethical and spiritual values as well as the athletic features must be emphasized. Cf. also Chistina TING KWAK, “An Olympic Education. From Athletic Colonization to International Harmony,” in Pathways: Critiques and Discourse in Olympic Research. Ninth International Symposium for Olympic Research, Edited by Robert K. BARNEY, Michael K. HEINE, Kevin B. WAMSLEY and Gordon H. MACDONALD, Bejing, International Centre for Olympic Studies, August 5-7, 2008, p. 527 as well as a recent position of the IOC President, Jacques ROGGE: Universities have often partnered the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) by offering numerous volunteers from among their students, helping to train the OCOG staff and offering the use of their sports facilities. They have thus played an important role in the success enjoyed by the Games, “Preface by the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge”, Olympic Studies Reader Vol. 1, Edited by Hai REN, Lamartine DACOSTA, Ana MIRAGAYA and Niu JING.

2013-11-25T17:31:36-05:00August 5th, 2010|Sports Coaching, Sports Facilities, Sports Management|Comments Off on The Institutional Framework for the Development of Olympic Education and the Role of the National Olympic Academy

The Position of the Athlete in the Social Structure of Ancient Greece

Socrates was famous for questions rather than answers. Even his one recorded intervention in Athenian politics was accomplished without a speech or a statement. Socrates was one of five men who were ordered by the Thirty Tyrants to detain Leon of Salamis. The others complied, and Leon was arrested and killed, but Socrates simply went home. He was likely saved from death only by the democratic restoration soon after. We should, therefore, pay all the more attention to what Socrates said on another occasion when his life was on the line, at the end of his trial for corrupting the youth of Athens (among other offences). Found guilty as charged, Socrates faced the death penalty, but had the opportunity of proposing an alternative sentence. He opted (or so Plato says) for the greatest honour the Athenian community could bestow:

>What is a fitting penalty for a poor man who is your benefactor and who needs leisure time for advising you? Nothing is more fitting than free meals for the rest of his life. And he deserves this more than a victor in the two-horse or four-horse chariot race at the Olympic Games. He makes you seem happy, but I make you really happy. And in any case, he does not need free meals, and I do.

This piece of provocation tells us all we need to know about the status of an Olympic victor in classical Athens, and indeed everywhere in the Greek world and at all times. Such a man stood at the furthest extreme from a convicted criminal, from a poor and eccentric criminal in particular. So it was that the wealthy and powerful – kings, tyrants, members of the aristocratic elite – spent enormous sums to raise and buy and race their horses and chariots at Olympia and to pay poets such as Simonides, Bacchylides and Pindar to sing their praises and to commission statues from the leading sculptors of the day. As for athletic victors at Olympia, they earned the same honours Socrates says were given to Athenian equestrians, a lifetime of free meals in the Prytaneion, and also (like them) front-row seats at festivals and even (though this is uncertain) a generous cash bonus; at Sparta, they fought at the side of the kings. Victories at the other Panhellenic games were similarly rewarded at Athens. And while those gained at local festivals might be less prestigious, they were far from negligible nonetheless: likewise commemorated in song and the occasions for statues, they were enumerated in numbing detail in ever-longer inscriptions from all over the Greek world up until the end of antiquity. Only political power surpassed success at Greek competitive festivals as a basis for prestige in ancient Greece. And just as the politically powerful believed such success legitimated and enhanced their position, athletic excellence could amount to a claim to political power in itself.

Of course, not every athlete was successful, and none won every time out. Was there a social cachet in participation itself? Pindar writes of three wrestlers who were defeated at the Pythian games at Delphi in the mid fifth century: ‘They ran home to their mothers/They slunk through the back alleys, separately and furtively/painfully stung by their loss.’ This may remind us of Reece Bobby in Talladega Nights: ‘If you’re not first, you’re last.’ There is no credit here for merely taking part. But then Pindar’s main concern is to flatter Aristomenes, for whose glory he writes, and stressing the height to which the wrestler’s win has elevated him serves that strategy. Some later inscriptions do present athletes as having competed worthily, notably, conspicuously, in a manner worthy of victory, at important festivals – but not actually winning. At the same time, Christians and gladiators, men (and women) on the margins of ancient society or mired in its lower depths, seek to represent themselves as athletes. There is nothing like this evidence earlier, and it may be viewed as a sign of a change in attitude, of a new regard for athletic competition itself and for those who practice it.

But we should be cautious about this conclusion: athletic activity was always informed by an elite ethos, even in democratic Athens. The competitive program comprised contests of strength, speed, and skill essentially unchanged from those which engaged Homer’s elite heroes. It was inherited from a milieu in which individual excellence mattered more than cooperation in a group; though tribal competitions involving team events (a boat race, perhaps a tug-of-war) were features of local festivals like Athens’ Panathenaea, they were restricted to citizens alone and never became part of the great Panhellenic festivals. It’s worth adding that most other events reserved for Athenians at the Panathenaea involved horses and that the festival, celebrated though it was in a radical democracy, featured more horse and chariot races than athletic contests. These were of course available only to the rich; and this is probably true, though to a lesser extent, for such team events as the tribal torch races. It is likely that these elite overtones always made competitive activity something to be proud of and display.

Here’s an example: The fourth-century BCE orator and politician, Aeschines, was sensitive about his family background. Demosthenes, his rival, liked to depict Aeschines’ father as a lowly schoolmaster, his mother as the devotee of an outlandish cult, his brother as ‘a painter of alabaster boxes and tambourines.’ Aeschines’ own account admits his father’s poverty, but claims that he had competed as an athlete in his youth. Similarly, his brother is said to have spent his free time in the gymnasium. And Aeschines himself lards his speeches with references to the lifestyle choices of the rich and famous, athletics prominent among them, and with suggestions that he too partakes of such pastimes. These links with athletics are clearly meant to establish Aeschines’ credentials as a member of the elite. He repays Demosthenes in the same coin, denying that his supporters include those who exercise along with him. ‘He hasn’t spent his time hunting wild boars or cultivating bodily vigour, but in hunting down men of property.’ It is left to Plutarch, centuries later, to mount a defence: Demosthenes’ guardians defrauded him of his father’s estate – he was, therefore, too poor to indulge in athletic activities – and he was besides sickly. Certainly ancient athletes made no effort to conceal their activities, readily identifiable as they were from their heavy musculature (there were no weight classes for boxers, wrestlers and pancratiasts , and they gorged themselves on meat to bulk up), their close-cropped hair (wrestlers and pancratiasts didn’t want to give their rivals a grip), their bodily vigour. (Aeschines says that this allowed Athenians to recognize those who exercised even if they didn’t visit the gymnasium themselves.) In later antiquity too, athletes flaunted their status, younger ones sporting the cirrus, the topknot which distinguished them from more experienced competitors.

We may say, then, that competitive success brought both esteem and more tangible rewards and that athletic activity and its trappings were always socially respectable and worth showing off. Athletics could thus enhance the social status of even the elite. Did sport also allow many Greeks of more humble origins to improve their social standing? Here we cannot be so certain.

Plutarch offers the following account of the origins and early career of Eumenes, later secretary to King Philip II of Macedon and ruler of Cappadocia.

>Duris says that the father of Eumenes of Cardia was a poor man who worked as a wagoner in the Thracian Chersonese; nevertheless, Eumenes got a liberal education in literature and athletics. While he was still a boy (Duris goes on), Philip visited and took the time to watch Cardian youths practicing the pankration and boys wrestling. Eumenes was so successful a wrestler and so clearly intelligent and brave that Philip, pleased, had him join his retinue. But I find those who say that Eumenes was favored by Philip on account of friendship with his father to be more plausible.

Two versions. As so often, we cannot say which (if either) is true. It is clear that Duris, a younger fourth-century contemporary of Eumenes, thought it unusual for a poor wagoner’s son to get training in athletics, but that he did not regard this as impossible, and that athletic ability, even among boys, could plausibly catch the eye of a king and lead on to fortune. Yet Plutarch (writing perhaps four hundred years later) is not convinced.

This divergence of opinion neatly mirrors modern debates on the class backgrounds of ancient Greek athletes. Learned and lively books by E.N. Gardiner and H.A. Harris popularized the view that archaic Greek sport was marked by the love of competition for its own sake. The great Panhellenic festivals were the crowning glories of this spirit of amateurism because their well-born winners were satisfied with a wreath as a reward; prizes of value and the predominance of lower-class professionals who wanted to win them were (allegedly) later developments, causes of corruption and symptoms of decline. But this picture was ‘conceived by partisans of the nineteenth-century Anglo-American amateur movement.’

Gardiner, Harris, and the many who followed them supplied ancient precedent to legitimize, consciously or not, the ideology of the modern Olympic Movement, committed from the outset to restricting competition to a leisured elite. We now realize that there were no amateurs in antiquity.

The decline of the ideology of amateurism has thus made it easier to recognize the role that money and other material benefits always played in Greek athletics. But another element of the world conjured up by Gardiner and Harris – the early monopoly of aristocrats and their displacement by poorer competitors – remains controversial. David Young has pressed the case for the involvement of poorer athletes from the earliest days of organized festival competition in Greece, pointing to a cook, a goatherd, and a cowherd among early Olympians. Unfortunately, our information on these athletes usually dates from many years after their deaths, and is seldom self-explanatory. Was Coroebus, the first Olympic victor, a cook or a cult functionary involved in sacrifice? Is the designation influenced by its source, himself a cook in a work of fiction, Athenaeus’ Deipnosophistae? Certainly the humble but unnamed Olympic victor in one of the many anecdotes designed to show Diogenes’ disdain for convention is invented for the sake of a pun: he is said to be ‘tending sheep’ (probata nemonta) so that the Cynic philosopher can jeer at his quick transition from Olympia to Nemea. And the anecdote about Glaucus of Carystus, recognized as a pugilistic prodigy when he beat a ploughshare back into shape with his bare hands, is another story too good to be true. (A very similar tale is told of the discovery of the baseball slugger, Jimmy Foxx; this time it can be proved to be a fabrication.) It is significant that Aristotle (perhaps writing as a contemporary) notes that one such Olympic champion, a fishmonger, was exceptional.

We may also wonder how poorer athletes could afford the time and expense of training and travel to competitions; these were greatest at Olympia, not only distant and hard to reach but requiring athletes to spend thirty days on the site before competition began. Cities might honour victory and even recruit champions – one likely explanation for the fact that Crotoniates won twelve of twenty-seven Olympic stadion races for men between 588 and 484 and once made up the first seven finishers. But they were less willing to subsidize competitors before their success. Though it is often said that Greek cities began to support athletes in the early Hellenistic period, the evidence usually referred to, in fact, reveals the initiative of private individuals, and there is no reason to think that the athlete in question is poor. We cannot gauge the extent of such private subsidies. In one instance, from Egypt, the athletes whose training is supported may be slaves – poor enough, but also outside the usual ambit of Greek festival competition.

Young argues that poorer boys might win local events – natural ability would count for most at this age – and use their earnings to finance careers. This view has won adherents, Nick Fisher among them. It is true that Athens’ Panathenaea offered substantial prizes for athletic victors who were boys or ageneioi, ‘beardless youths,’ perhaps the equivalent of $50,000 today for the boys’ stadion race. Yet few local games can have been as generous as the Panathenaea, itself on offer only every four years; other prizes we know of were paltry by comparison. One indication: about 300 BCE, a coach approached the city council of Ephesus for funds to help a young athlete train and make a festival trip. The boy had already won at least one victory — and yet, it seems, had not earned enough to compete abroad without help. Furthermore, local games with valuable prizes attracted entrants from afar. If we are to judge from the findspots of Panathenaic amphoras, many were won by outsiders. In fact, attracting them might be a priority, important enough for an ex-archon to seek the emperor Septimius Severus’ assistance when athletes passed by the Panhellenia at Athens in the early third century of our era. Visiting victors included boys too: an inscription from the early second century BCE lists more foreign boys among champions at the Panathenaea than native Athenians. Among local competitors, better-off boys could afford more food and the private trainers Pindar praises. As for public trainers, paidotribai, the Athenian ephebate in which they played an important part is attested only from the later fourth century and may not have included the thetes, the poor majority of the population; its Hellenistic descendant was an unequivocally exclusive institution. Young has certainly established the possibility of poorer athletes taking part in archaic and classical competition, but we cannot say that their involvement in any significant numbers was probable. And in fact, though we know the names of quite a few Athenian athletes – Don Kyle’s catalogue lists 116 as certain or possible — there is none whose career follows the trajectory he lays out.

The proportion of elite and other athletes at later periods is beyond our reach and likely to remain so. We know of many athletes whose careers were studded with distinctions – multiple citizenships, magistracies, priesthoods, service on embassies. Do these testify to their origins among the elite for which such honours were usually reserved? Or are they the consequences of victory? We can rarely be sure. There can be no question about the elite status of those who joined athletic victories to success in equestrian competition (such as Sosibius, a major figure at the Egyptian court and Aratus, the Achaean leader of the late third century BCE). Family connections often offer a clue. The wrestler, Hermesianax, whose father and uncle contributed towards building a wall at Colophon about 300 BCE, must have come from a family with means. A series of inscriptions permits us to trace the progress of L. Septimius Flavianus Flavillianus of Oenoanda. This appears to follow the model put forward by Young: he enjoyed significant success at local festivals and went on to win five Panhellenic crowns before returning home for the Meleagria in the early third century of our era. But, in fact, his was no rags to riches tale: his father was a regional official, his aunt, an aristocrat who proudly carved her family lineage onto her tomb.

An important but puzzling piece of evidence is Artemidorus’ discussion of dreams in which a mother gives birth to an eagle. In a poor family, this portends a son who will rise in the ranks to command a military camp; among the rich, an emperor. A third boy, from the moderate or middling class, will become a famous athlete. What does Artemidorus intend by metrios here? Clearly not the top stratum of the population of the Roman Empire. H.W. Pleket understands the term to include the most successful artisans and intellectuals, doctors and lawyers, as well as members of local councils who did not hold high office. However, it is possible that the group he has in mind extends as high as the ‘curial order,’ the local elites of the many small and medium-size cities of the Roman east, who had not yet produced claimants to the imperial throne in Artemidorus’ day, the late second century of our era. Almost all the known victors in the Meleagria at Balboura in Asia Minor in the mid second century of our era belonged to such prominent local families. So too did those at Oenoanda, where ‘the social status of the local participants was high,’ and so too at Aphrodisias, Aezani, throughtout Lycia, among the winners at the Plataean Eleutheria. Nor were these well born athletes runners or pentathletes only, as has sometimes been suggested, shunning the dangerous and disfiguring combat events. It is pancratiasts who make up far and away the largest number of identifiable xystarchs, the leaders of athletes’ associations in the imperial period.

Were there no athletes from outside the elite? Certainly there were. We may adduce third and second century victors in local contests at Sicyon, who make up a group quite distinct from the wealthy citizens who contributed to fund-raising campaigns. Among individuals, we may point to an Olympic champion in pankration in the early second century of our era, whose cognomen, Domesticus, hints at servile origin for his family, and an Egyptian boxer and priest of an athletic guild, nicknamed ‘the dummy,’ who was illiterate. Phorystas of Tanagra, victorious herald at an unspecified ‘noble contest of Zeus’ in the mid third century of our era, triumphed elsewhere with his ‘winged feet’. Is he another athlete of (at least relatively) humble origins? As does Nigel Crowther, I accept that such heralds (and trumpeters too) were likely to be of lower status than other competitors at Panhellenic festivals. Unlike him, however, I regard the reference to ‘winged feet’ as a reference to speaking without stopping for breath, not to athletic competition: we can’t count Phorystas. A fragment of Plutarch speaks of a certain Nicandas, a Boeotian contemporary and a shoemaker, who had nevertheless spent some time at palaestrae. But there is nothing to say that he used whatever he learned there in festival competition.

Examples there are, then, of poorer athletes, but there are not so many that we can talk (as Don Kyle does) of the ‘democratization’ of the Olympics. On the contrary, it is best to accept the conclusion of Pleket, the most thorough investigator of the social status of Greek athletes in later antiquity: ‘From Pindar’s time until Roman Imperial times, members of the upper class were never absent in sport (neither in the running events nor in the body-contact sports).’ And indeed, though victors were eager to claim distinctions of every kind, as first of their city or among Ionians to win an event, or first of all competitors to win in three age classes, or twice on one day, none advertises himself as the first of his family or social class. If ancient athletes did rise in social status through their success in competition, they weren’t eager for their contemporaries to find out. As a result, they are hidden from us as well.

### References

Bartels, J. (2004) ‘Zwischen Adelsprivileg und Massenphänomen. Sport und griechische Gesellschaft,’ in Bartels et al., eds, Sportschau. Antike Athleten in Aktion (Bonn) 7-17.

Fisher, N. (1998) ‘Gymnasia and the democratic values of leisure’ in P. Cartledge et al., eds, Kosmos. Essays in Order, Conflict and Community in Classical Athens (Cambridge) 84-104.

Gardiner, E.N. (1910) Greek Athletic Sports and Festivals (London).

Golden, M. (2008). Greek Sport and Social Status (Austin).

Harris, H.A. (1964) Greek Athletes and Athletics (London).

Hubbard, T. (2008) ‘Contemporary sport sociology and ancient Greek athletics,’ Leisure Studies 27: 379-93.

Kyle, D.G. (1987) Athletics in Ancient Athens (Leiden).

Kyle, D.G. (1997) ‘The first 100 Olympiads: a process of decline or democratization?,’ Nikephoros 10: 53-75.

Mann, C. (2001) Athlet und Polis im archaischen und frühklassischen Griechenland (Göttingen).

Pleket, H.W. (2001) ‘Zur Soziologie des antiken Sports,’ Nikephoros 14: 157-212.

Pritchard, D. (2003) ‘Athletics, education and participation in classical Athens’, in D.J. Phillips and Pritchard, eds, Sport and Festival in the Ancient Greek World (Swansea) 293-349.

Young, D.C. (1984) The Olympic Myth of Greek Amateur Athletics (Chicago).

2013-11-25T17:36:14-05:00August 3rd, 2010|Sports Facilities, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on The Position of the Athlete in the Social Structure of Ancient Greece

The Use of Sport Art for the Development of Olympic Education: Passing the Visual Torch

> “The Olympic Games are not just ordinary world championships but a four-yearly festival of universal youth, ‘the spring of mankind,’… multiple ambitions in all forms…To the ancient Greeks, the Olympics were as much a matter of art as athleticism.”
Baron Pierre de Coubertin, Founder of the Modern Olympic Games

Since the beginning of the Olympic Games, sport and art have been partners in communicating Olympic values, and this powerful educational partnership continues today. Defined in the 1800s by its founder, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the purpose of the Modern Olympics is to promote the physical, psychological, and peaceful cultural improvement of man and nations through sport. More effectively than any other vehicle, sport art brings the spirit of the Games to the masses in line with the democratic principles of Olympism. Only a few select athletes can experience the thrill of participating in Olympic sports. However, everyone can enjoy and be inspired by viewing Olympic art.

The Olympic Movement is the greatest sport and social movement in human history. The Modern Olympic Games revived the Ancient Olympic Games. They have survived world wars. They have survived economic collapse. Time and again, in the face of adversity, the Olympic Movement perseveres. Looking ahead to challenges facing National Olympic Committees, art emerges as a powerful tool for the success and education of future generations in Olympism.

The recent IOC publication of the book, Olympic Posters, is a great resource for teaching Olympism. Posters offer a quick history lesson because dates, places, art styles, and often sports stars are clearly shown. Olympic Games promotion is focused on the youth market, and posters are an effective tool because they are within most young people’s budgets and are popular displays in young people’s rooms.

It might seem unlikely that a simple paper item like a poster would be significant in a fast-paced technological age, however, it is because posters are not fleeting that they retain their teaching edge. You cannot turn them off, and their batteries do not run out. A poster on your wall is a message that keeps on educating. If a picture is worth a thousand words, an appealing Olympic poster’s symbolic message in the person of an exciting athlete is worth a thousand lectures about building character. The posters chosen for discussion here have been selected for their ability to communicate specific milestones in Olympic history or shifts in world culture, and these qualities make them particularly useful as educational tools.

The first official Olympic poster was not printed until 1912. Program covers from prior Games were later printed as posters and contain valuable educational information on early Olympic practices. The Official Report cover for the first Olympics of the modern era, the 1896 Athens Games, is a symbolic portrayal of the connection of Ancient Games to Modern. A manifestation of Coubertin’s vision, the Modern Olympic Games were a vehicle for peace and democracy and strictly amateur. Thirteen nations participated in the first games. The athletes were mostly affluent American and Greek college students. During these Games, Spiridon Louis, a Greek postal worker, won the first Olympic marathon in 2 hours, 38 minutes, and 50 seconds.

The image now printed as the official poster for the 1900 Paris Games is a poster originally designed for the Paris World Exhibition. Even though 22 nations participated in those Games, because of the concurrent schedule, some athletes at the time were unaware that they were competing in the Olympics. Swimming events took place in the Seine River. The poster featuring a woman fencer is fitting, as it advertises the first Games in which women athletes were allowed. An American golfer was the first woman to win an Olympic event.

The 1904 Olympic Games became another upstaged, this time by the St. Louis World Fair. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt changed the host city from Chicago to St. Louis to ensure that the Games would be held along with the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition. Noting the event’s famously festive mood, one reporter dubbed the event “a fair where there are also sports.” Because many people still thought of St. Louis as the dangerous “Wild West,” attendance from those outside the United States was minimal. Of the 554 athletes, 432 were Americans. At the St. Louis Games, basketball was held as a demonstration sport, while men’s golf was an official event.

The 1908 Games were held in London. Rome had been scheduled to host the fourth Olympic Games, but a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius changed the site to London. Rome would not host the Games until 1960. In 1908, the London Games were attended by 23 nations and 2,000 athletes and were the first Olympic Games in which the top three finishers earned medals. Several other firsts occurred there. The Olympic motto was coined: It’s the participation that counts, not the winning. Figure skating became an Olympic sport. The first medals were awarded for works of art inspired by sport in the fields of architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture. Depicted on the program cover, Shepherd’s Bush stadium played a part in another first. The official 26-mile, 385-yard marathon length was adopted so that athletes starting at the stadium would finish for easy royal viewing in front of the Royal Box.

The 1912 Stockholm Games produced the first planned and executed official Olympic poster. The main job of early posters was to announce and advertise the Games. The 1912 poster was printed in 16 nations and shipped to 30 different countries for display. The partial nudity of the athlete portrayed, a nod to Ancient Olympic Games, caused international controversy. The flag sequence, representing the march of the nations, was also an issue of dispute. Over 3,800 athletes from 28 nations participated in those Games, including the first entry by Japan. For the first time, competitors came from all five parts of the world later symbolized in the five Olympic Rings first shown at the 1920 Games. When Sweden refused to hold boxing events because the violence of the sport infringed on its neutrality philosophy, the IOC issued a rule to limit powers of local organizing committees and took control of event selections. The 1912 Games also saw breakthroughs in technology and sport, including the public address system and stop watches.

The 1920 Antwerp Games were the first Olympic Games after World War I. Athletes from Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, and Turkey were excluded. At those Games, the Olympic Oath, a solemn promise made by one athlete who represents all competitors, was reinstated from the Ancient Games. The Olympic Flag was adopted with its five-colored interlocking rings that symbolize fraternity among nations and the five participating continents. At those Games, hockey was first included, paving the way for future Olympic Winter Games. For the Antwerp Games, the IOC began to invite countries rather than individual athletes. Those Games were the largest to date in terms of participating countries.

Paris, home of Olympic founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin, hosted its second Games in 1924. This was Coubertin’s last Olympics as President of the IOC. A new Olympic motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) was used for the first time. In 1928 in Amsterdam, Holland’s Prince Hendrik opened the largest Games to date in a newly-built, 40,000-spectator stadium that established a tradition of a 400-meter running track. Prince Hendrik introduced a giant results board, now standard for all international competitions. The Dutch also introduced the Olympic flame, which now burns throughout each Olympiad. Women were allowed to compete in track and field events for the first time. For the first time since World War I, Germany was allowed back in the Games. The 1928 poster, the rarest of all Olympic posters, sells for approximately 18,000 U.S. Dollars, and is the first to feature the Olympic Rings that have appeared on all following official posters. The streamlined Deco design of the poster marked the shift from ancient to modern styles and reflects a machine age obsession with speed. This poster does not display specific dates for the Games. Posters no longer needed to provide schedules for an isolated public. Telegraph, radio, and then television could relay the news much faster than print.

The 1936 Games, known as “Hitler’s Games,” originally were to be hosted by Barcelona, but the IOC changed this because Spain was on the brink of civil war. In newly selected Berlin, Adolf Hitler opened the Games in a highly politicized atmosphere, a trend that would continue throughout the 20th century. At the 1912 Stockholm Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin had said, “great people have received the Torch… and have thereby undertaken to preserve and… quicken its precious Flame.” The flame symbol was reconfigured as a Torch Relay at the 1936 Berlin Games. The relay has preceded all Olympic Summer Games since. The 1936 opening ceremonies featured a release of pigeons, a symbol of peace, which also has endured as a standard feature at the Games. Closed circuit television, that would eventually transform the Modern Olympic Games, was introduced for the first time. Jesse Owens, a sprinter from Ohio State, won four gold medals, tied the world record in the 100 meters, set world records in the 200 meters and long jump, and anchored the 400-meter relay. Owens, an African American and top athlete, symbolized the spirit of Olympism, upsetting the political myth of Aryan supremacy, and manifesting Coubertin’s vision of equality.

Although Olympic Games, scheduled for Berlin, Tokyo, and Madrid respectively, were not held in 1916, 1940, and 1944 due to World Wars, the Olympic history of those years is preserved in art. Cristóbal Gabarrón’s sculpture, “The Atlanta Star,” 26 pillars of painted Balboa steel, was installed at the centennial 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. It represented the political, social, and athletic aspects of the 100 years of Games, including those cancelled due to war. “The Atlanta Star,” commissioned by the United States Sports Academy, honors the dark war years, as well as the many freer, happier years of the Games.

In 1948, the Olympic Games returned to London. Britain’s King George VI opened the Games with a great ceremony at Wembley Stadium. Athletes from 59 nations were housed in military barracks throughout the country, and food was rationed. China sent a team to the Summer Games for the last time until 1984. However, there would be representation from Taiwan in the interim. Once again, Germany and Japan were required to sit home. In a great media breakthrough, over 250 broadcasters aired the Games in more than 40 languages. Those were the last Games at which medals were awarded for works of art inspired by sport. In London, Bob Mathias (USA) won his first of two gold medals in the decathlon at the age of only 17. At the same time, Alice Coachman (USA) set the high jump Olympic record and became the first black woman to win gold. The 1948 London Olympic poster shows the British Museum’s Townley Discobolus statue, and the Big Ben clock set to the Games’ start time of 4 o’clock. Both are icons of the city and cultural references to the Games’ traditions.

In 1952, Helsinki hosted the largest Olympiad to date, with 69 nations and nearly 5,000 athletes participating. A new state-of-the-art facility was constructed, including a beautiful Olympic Village. Germany and Japan again entered the Games. The Soviet Union entered its first Olympics. The poster from the cancelled 1940 Finnish Games featuring Finnish runner, Paavo Nurmi, holder of 33 distance world records, was revised to suit the 1952 Games. In 1952, Czech, Emil Zatopek, the “Iron Locomotive,” won the 5,000; 10,000 meters and marathon.

Melbourne’s 1956 Olympics were the first held in the Southern Hemisphere. However, the Olympic equestrian events were held in Stockholm, because an Australian government regulation banned animals from entering the country. The Stockholm Equestrian Games featured 158 athletes from 29 nations. Two official posters advertising the two segments of the Games display different dates to compensate for the difference in seasons between hemispheres. While in Melbourne, the United States dominated Olympic track and field, sweeping the sprints and hurdles. Charlie Dumas cleared seven feet in the high jump, Harold Connolly won the hammer throw, and Al Oerter won the first of four golds in discus. At the same time, Olympians from the Soviet Union, led by Vladmir Kuts winning the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, became poised to take over as the leaders in Olympic track and field. In the meantime, Hungarian, Lazlo Papp, won his third straight boxing title.

The 1960 Rome Games integrated historic architecture with modern facilities. The 1960 Games were the largest Olympiad to date, with 83 nations and nearly 5,500 athletes, and featured the first Paralympics. Heralding a new media era, the Games were televised worldwide. Television revenue has escalated at a staggering pace ever since. In 1960, CBS paid USD 394,000 for television rights. NBC is now paying USD 5.7 billion to broadcast the Olympics in the U.S. from 2000 to 2012. In the Rome Games, the first sign of doping was observed when cyclist, Knut Enemark Jenson of Denmark, died from a drug overdose. Politics surfaced when South Africa was expelled from the Olympic Movement until 1992 for its racist apartheid policy. The stylized 1960 Rome poster depicts a wolf suckling Romulus and Remus atop a Classical column, creating a modern Olympic visual tribute to the history, culture, and art of Rome.

In 1964, Tokyo was the world’s largest city and became the first Asian city to host the Games. Tokyo boasted modern hotels and arenas. The Japanese won every architectural award for sport facilities. The Games cost in excess of USD 2 billion to stage. Japan’s national sport, judo, was designated an official Olympic event. The 1964Tokyo poster was the first Olympic photography poster, showcasing Japan’s advances in photography and printing. The models featured were multi-racial members of the U.S. Air Force, reflecting the 1960s Civil Rights movement in the Games’ message. At those Games, Native American, Billy Mills, set an Olympic record in the 10,000 meters, the first U.S. gold in the event.

The 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games were the first to be held in North America outside the United States. These Games were also the first held at high altitude (7,573 feet above sea level) and staged in the gigantic 150,000-seat Aztec Stadium. For the first time, more than 100 nations (112) participated. Bob Beamon (USA) set the long jump record at 29 feet, 2.5 inches, and Al Oerter (USA) won discus for the fourth consecutive time. The 1968 Mexico poster was designed to evoke the fabric patterns of the Huichole Indians, an example of how Olympic posters can educate others about host cultures.

The 1972 Munich Games, “The Happy Olympics,” as they were called, contradicted the nickname when racism, boycotts, and terrorism erupted. The 1972 Munich Games turned tragic when the Black September terrorist group killed 11 Israeli athletes held captive in the Olympic Village. A funeral ceremony was held at the stadium the following day, but the Games continued. USSR dominated the Games, led by Valery Borzov, who won the 100 and 200 meters. USA swimmer, Mark Spitz, won seven gold medals in seven world record performances. However, overall poor performance by the U.S. at those Games became an impetus for the formation of the United States Sports Academy. The Munich poster shows the Olympiaturm, a communication tower signifying advances in technology and modernization of Olympic images.

Canada was awarded the 1976 Montreal Games in a selection process marked by a bidding war between the Soviet Union and the United States. Those and the following two Games were marked by boycotts, Montreal with 21 African nations protesting New Zealand’s participation in an earlier rugby competition against South Africa. Taiwan was refused entry into the Games under their chosen name, Republic of China. The Montreal Games left Canada with a USD 600 million debt. Still, those Games were not without exceptional performances. Alberto Juantorena (Cuba), “The Horse,” won the 400 and 800 meters, and gymnast, Nadia Comaneci (Romania), scored a perfect 10 seven times. The poster prominently displayed the Olympic Rings only, a simple design indicative of the logo-like corporate designs that would come to dominate contemporary posters.

The Soviet Union was awarded the 1980 Moscow Games; however, the Games were boycotted by the United States and some 62 other nations, including Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany. In spite of these conflicts, the Moscow Games saw 33 world records broken. Aleksandr Dityatin (USSR) won eight medals and received the first perfect 10 for a male gymnast. The poster, which featured a stylized running track in the shape of a building topped by a red star, continued the trend toward simple, stylized design images.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan opened the Los Angeles Games to a record 141 nations and more than 7,000 athletes. The Games were boycotted by The Soviet Union and 16 other countries. The two Irelands competed as one; the two Koreas considered doing the same; and the People’s Republic of China entered the Games for the first time. The winning bid for the Games did not come from a national, state, or local government. It was put together by a free enterprise system headed by Peter Ueberroth, a Los Angeles travel agent, whose business savvy may have single-handedly reversed the backward economic slide of the Modern Olympic Games. Such a process had not been undertaken since 1896. Carl Lewis (USA) won the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 400 meters relay. Joan Benoit (USA) became the winner of the first women’s marathon. The 1984 poster’s five stars symbolizing high goals are cut from photographs of cultural U.S. images and are repeated to indicate multiple competitors and speed.

The year 1988 marked the first Paralympic Games to take place at the same venue as the Olympic Games. The Seoul Olympic facilities were built from scratch, and every competition site boasted an exceptional cleanliness. Nineteen world and seven Olympic records were broken. Despite the success, Seoul will always be remembered as “The Doping Olympics.” Three winners in weight lifting and a Canadian sprinter, Ben Johnson, were stripped of gold medals for testing positive for steroids. In those Games, tennis returned as an event, this time featuring the world’s professional tennis players. Florence Griffith-Joyner (USA) broke the world record in the 200 meters with a time of 21.34, and also won the 100 meters and 4×100 relay. The groundbreaking 1988 poster signifies the dawning of the computer age, now a major factor in the development of Olympic education. This poster image expresses harmony between tradition and technological advancement.

Barcelona put on a gold medal show in 1992 by recapturing the splendor of the historic maritime city. They removed urban factories to build an Olympic Village with parks and shops, and minimized pollution in the Mediterranean Sea. A record 172 nations participated in the first Games since 1972 without a boycott. Soviet Republics entered the Games as the Unified Team and dominated competitions with 112 medals. South Africa was welcomed back after the 1991 moratorium on apartheid. Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA) won her second straight heptathlon and Javier Sotomayor (Cuba) cleared eight feet in the high jump. Sotomayor’s record still stands. The poster image heralds the future of technology in Games media with its brand-like logo. Today the key means of communicating facts about the Games are television and online news.

In 1996, Atlanta hosted the Centennial Olympics. As in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympiad, the Games were won by a bid entered by enterprising businessmen, this time led by Billy Payne. A record 197 nations committed to participate, including North Korea in its first entry. There were 10,788 athletes who vied for gold metals. The entire face of Atlanta was changed by the construction of such venues as the Centennial Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Park. The Olympic Village ultimately became residential housing for Georgia State University and Georgia Tech University. The Centennial Olympic Stadium for track and field events was converted into Turner Field baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves. Centennial Olympic Park is still in use. The Games cost USD 1.8 billion to stage, USD 500 million of which was American taxpayer dollars. The poster of a Greek profile in modern Matisse cut-out style was created by designer, Primo Angelli, who also became responsible for the design of the 2012 London logo.

The 2000 Sydney Games marked the second time the Olympic Summer Games were held in the Southern Hemisphere, the first being Melbourne in 1956. In those Games, Greco-Roman wrestler, Rulon Gardner (USA), defeated Alexandre Karelin (Russia), who had won golds in Seoul, Barcelona, and Atlanta. Before his match with Gardner, Karelin was undefeated for 13 years. The Australian poster shows a shadowy Sydney Opera House topped by leaping Aboriginal symbols indicative of heightened worldwide respect for first nation cultures.

The 2004 Athens Games, the “Internet Olympics,” marked the first time that major broadcasters were allowed to serve video coverage over the worldwide web. IOC President, Dr. Jacques Rogge, described these Games as the “unforgettable, dream Games.” The motto was, Welcome Home, reflecting the first time since 1896 that the Olympic Games were held in Greece. Those Games saw an unprecedented focus on security. Seventy thousand police officers were on hand, costing organizers an estimated USD 1.2 billion. A simple olive branch in blue and white on the poster symbolizes the Greek countryside and the country’s historic involvement with the Games. The olive branch is a symbol of Athens and was the traditional award to Olympic champions during the Ancient Olympic Games.

Also useful for Olympic education, the Olympic Winter Games posters are in many ways just as, if not more visually breathtaking than those of the Summer Games. In 1948, the Winter Games returned to St. Moritz, the site of the 1928 Olympic Winter Games, the first true Winter Games, which replaced the Nordic Games. The 1948 poster shows tanned skiers and a bright, large Alpine sun. The image emphasizes nature’s dominance over man.

The 1984 Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo were branded the “Friendly Games,” and did not hint at the fighting that would tear Yugoslavia apart eight years later. The 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Games in Norway marked the first and only time to date that the Games were staged two years apart, as the IOC chose to move the Winter and Summer Games to separate four-year schedules. Hometown star speed skater, Johann Olav Koss, won the 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000, setting world records in all of them. His extraordinary gift of all his winnings to Olympic Aid inspired a flood of $18 million in donations over 10 days. Though the Bosnian War raged as the Games took place, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s four-man bobsled team consisted of one Croatian, two Bosnians, and a Serbian—another example of the Olympic code’s contributions to peace.

As the Games evolve, so does the poster art used to promote them. The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics poster, with its fresh, vibrant colors and contemporary design, is an example of how Olympic posters are an opportunity for the host culture to influence young people of the world. The Sochi 2014 logo is an even better example. The Sochi logo takes this computerization one step further by being the first logo to feature a Games’ website ( It aims to advertise the Games and to entice the people of the world to look further for information, thus leading people to a vast online directory of Olympic history and philosophy.

In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Summer Games, 11,028 athletes from 204 nations competed. The Games were a source of national pride for the Chinese, and offered hope for long-term reforms in environmental policy. Those Games cost an estimated USD 15 billion to stage, but produced revenues in excess of USD 16 billion. In Beijing, swimmer Michael Phelps (USA) won eight gold medals, and Usain Bolt (Jamaica) set world records in the 100 and 200 meters sprints. The official poster for Beijing was designed cooperatively by students from about 266 colleges and universities in China. The upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London have yet to reveal an official poster; but the logo, created by the designer of the 1996 official poster, Primo Angelli, continues in the modern tradition of streamlined corporate design. In the logo, the five boroughs of London are stylized to form the numbers 2012.

Today, the Olympic Movement faces a new challenge: finding relevance in a fast paced, digital age. IOC president, Jacques Rogge, said that, “If we don’t adapt to the changes of our youth, we are lost. We are a movement of young people.” Thus, Rogge proposed a Youth Olympic Games in 2001. The first event is scheduled to take place in August 2010 in Singapore. The poster for the Youth Olympic Games prominently displays the Games’ website.

The power to represent the identity and principles of an event is imparted intentionally by the artists in their choice of symbolic images as well as coincidentally by events when historic milestones happen at specific Games. The three pillars of the Olympic Movement are sport, culture, and the environment. Olympic art educates the viewer in Olympic values by telling the story of its times in artistic shorthand and continuing to echo the concepts shaping the event in the public’s collective mind in the years to come.

### Works Consulted

McGeachy, A. (1996, July 22). “Images that Captivate,” Sports Illustrated, pp. 34-36.

Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. (2008). Retrieved from, (2010). Retrieved from,

Olympic Museum. (2007). Olympic Games Posters. Retrieved from,

Rosandich, T. P. (1996). The Atlanta Star. Daphne, AL: United States Sports Academy.

2013-11-25T17:38:50-05:00July 9th, 2010|Sports Coaching, Sports Exercise Science, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on The Use of Sport Art for the Development of Olympic Education: Passing the Visual Torch