FROM BOXING CONTESTS WITH NO WEIGHT CLASSIFICATIONS OR POINT SCORING TO CHARIOT RACING WHERE DANGER LURKED ON EVERY CORNER, IT IS EASY TO SEE WHY THE ANCIENT GAMES ENTHRALLED THE GREEKS FOR SO LONG. HERE, WE GIVE YOU THE ESSENTIAL LOWDOWN, HIGHLIGHT OUR FAVOURITE FACTS.
Full of blood, passion and extraordinary feats of athletic endeavour, the Olympic Games were the sporting, social and cultural highlight of the Ancient Greek calendar for almost 12 centuries.
“It is hard for us to exaggerate how important the Olympics were for the Greeks,” Paul Christesen, Professor of Ancient Greek History at Dartmouth College, USA, said.
When he announced in Paris, on a winter’s evening in 1892, the forthcoming re-establishment of the Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin was applauded, but nobody at the time imagined the scale of the project entailed by reviving the ancient Olympic Games, appointing a committee in charge of organising them and creating an international movement. The IOC was created on 23 June 1894; the 1st Olympic Games of the modern era opened in Athens on 6 April 1896; and the Olympic Movement has not stopped growing ever since. The Olympic Movement encompasses organisations, athletes and other persons who agree to be guided by the principles of the Olympic Charter. Its composition and general organisation are governed by Chapter 1 of the Charter. The Movement comprises three main constituents:
- The IOC: the supreme authority of the Movement;
- The International Federations (IFs): these are international non-governmental organisations administering one or several sports at world
level and encompassing organisations administering such sports at national level (More information about IFs).
- The National Olympic Committees: their mission is to develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement in their respective countries. The NOCs are the only organisations that can select and designate the city which may apply to organise Olympic Games in their respective countries. In addition, they alone can send athletes to the Games. (More information about NOCs)
The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind, in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
The Olympic Movement is defined also by the numerous activities in which it engages, such as:
- Promoting sport and competitions through the intermediary of national and international sports institutions worldwide.
- Cooperation with public and private organisations to place sport at the service of mankind.
- Assistance to develop “Sport for All”.
- Advancement of women in sport at all levels and in all structures, with a view to achieving equality between men and women.Help in the development of sport for all.
- Opposition to all forms of commercial exploitation of sport and athletes.
- The fight against doping.
- Promoting sports ethics and fair play.
- Raising awareness of environmental problems.
- Financial and educational support for developing countries through the IOC institution Olympic Solidarity.
The Olympic Charter
The Olympic Charter is the codification of the Fundamental Principles, Rules and Bye-laws adopted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It governs the organisation and running of the Olympic Movement and sets the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games.
“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 found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”
Olympic Charter, Fundamental principles, paragraph 1