Desislava Stoyanova (Bulgaria) on Interpreting Olympic Values for the Twenty-First Century

August 24, 2012

The Olympic values lie in the core of Olympism, which has been defined by Pierre de Coubertin as a philosophy of life. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) promotes the three most important ones—respect, excellence, and friendship, while the Olympic Charter extends the set with mutual understanding, solidarity, fair play, and social responsibility. These are universal moral categories valid for all societies around the world, and they make the Olympic Movement globally powerful and able to penetrate into any cultural and religious environment.
The IOC and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have developed many Olympic educational programs and conducted numerous sports and cultural initiatives over the past few decades in order to spread the Olympic values around the world.

We live in the twenty-first century and some people tend to think that nowadays, due to the intensity of life in political and economic aspects, mankind needs the Olympic values in action more than ever. The truth is that, no matter the century, people have always appreciated and needed the same values, simply because the human soul has an eternal desire for mutual understanding, love, and friendship. However, the present times provide the IOC with more opportunities, thanks to the development of communications and technology. The Olympic Movement today is truly privileged to be able to use a variety of means for propagating the Olympic values as well as to take advantage of the power of the Olympic Games as a sports event with global significance.

The idea of all the IOC’s initiatives for promoting Olympic values is not inventing something entirely new, but reinforcing the existing human potential for creating welfare and peace. Each human being is able to give others friendship and respect because these virtues are coded in our DNA and in our hearts. The task of Olympism is to inspire us to look inside ourselves and search for the beauty of life in each aspect of human relationships. Glorious moments in sport are memorable, but those that really touch one’s heart are the everyday moments of a given hand, a friend’s hug, and a respectful attitude.

Olympism has to be the wake up call, the bell that rings and tells us that each person has the inner energy to contribute to making the world a better place for living. Olympic values are a universal language and they make us believe that we can build a brighter future by telling us, “You can do it!”

But life is not a road that one walks alone. It is “… a challenge before the whole human race, and I ain’t gonna lose; we are the champions my friend and we’ll keep on fighting till the end”!
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