Why were the Ancient Olympics Revived

"The idea of the revival of Olympic Games was not a passing fancy: it was the logical culmination of a great movement. The 19th century saw the taste for physical exercises revive everywhere ... At the same time the great inventions, the railways and the telegraph have abridged distances and mankind has come to live a new existence; the peoples have intermingled, they have learned to know each other better and immediately they started to compare themselves. What one achieved the other immediately wished also to endeavour: universal exhibitions brought together to one locality of the globe the products of the most distant lands; Literary or scientific congresses have brought together, into contact, the various intellectual forces. How then should the athletes not seek to meet, since rivalry is the basis of athletics, and in reality the very reason of its existence?"
(Baron Pierre de Coubertin, 1896)

In order to purify the notion of rivalry and to transform it in noble contest, the representatives of all the nations chose one method: the creation of

"competitions at regular periodical intervals at which representatives of all countries and all sports would be invited under the aegis of the same authority, which would impact to them a halo of grandeur and glory, that is the patronage of classical antiquity. To do this was to revive the Olympic Games: the name imposed itself: it was not even possible to find another."
(Baron Pierre de Coubertin, 1896)

The above text illustrates in a very alive way what 19th c. believed for the revival of the Olympic Games. Still, it says nothing about the first attempts of Greeks to revive the Olympic Games, long before Baron De Coubertin was born. Many years later, in 1896, the First International Olympic Games took place in Athens, the first Olympic city. The choice of Athens was a symbolical act of recognition of the Hellenic contribution to western culture and civilisation. Many people contributed to the realisation of the Olympic Games. In 19th century, the social formation of national states was ideally right for the acceptance of the Olympic Ideas in a new - national - context. The symbolism of the Olympic Games show us today the processes through which human beings learned the new concepts of their time.

First Attempts | Olympics Rebirth | People and Society | Symbols

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