Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics, had some pretty outdated views about women and sport. Luckily, his thoughts on what values the Games should champion were a bit more on point.
De Coubertin wanted the Olympics to stand for admirable things like respect and balance, as well as ensuring the pursuit of excellence was just as valued as the joy in effort.
The modern Olympics would mirror their Ancient Greek counterparts with an emphasis on the role sport played in every other aspect of life.
Sport was to be showcased not only as a showing of physical strength and ability on the sporting field but as a tool to educate, inspire and connect communities – something it now achieves on a global scale more so than ever before.
The International Olympic Committee has reworked de Coubertin’s Olympic values and updated them to fit the 21st century.
The core themes of excellence, friendship and respect serve as a model not only for Olympians competing at the Games but the Olympic movement as a whole and for sport and life in general.
Seems pretty obvious but excellence is more than winning. Excellence is breaking world records and beating personal bests. Excellence means going above and beyond in your training, in competition and in every other aspect of your life.
It’s not just team sports which embody the value of friendship. It extends to the entirety of the Australian Olympic team being one cohesive, supportive unit and to every other nation competing. The value of friendship means the Olympics can be used to build bridges among people from all walks of life through the common language of sport.
Respect is more than just admiring your competitors and treating them well. Respect is an integral part of everyday life and should be afforded to everyone. Respect needs to apply to the intangible aspects of sport itself like the integrity of the competition and to the more tangible aspects like the rules, the officials and the spectators.