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Between Olympism And Olympic Core Values

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By Esther Oluwatoyin Aluko

The theme for the 2021 Olympic Day Celebration is “Stay Healthy, Stay Strong, Stay Active with the #OlympicDay workout on 23 June 2021. Olympism refers to the philosophy of the Olympic Games. Modern Olympism, which was conceived by Pierre de Coubertine in the late 19th Century, has evolved over time as the Olympic Movement has grown and developed. The Olympic Charter, the protocol for Opening and Closing ceremonies, the athletes’ oath and the Olympic rings and flag were his creations. Pierre de Coubertine died in Geneva on 2 September 1937 and was buried in Lausanne, Switzerland. In accordance with his last wishes, his heart was buried in Olympia, Greece in a marble stele that was erected to commemorate his dedication to the Olympic ideal and spirit. The aim of Olympism is to show how sport can make us all better citizens through the combination of mind, body, and spirit. Its goal is to help foster better relationships between communities and nations, helping us to live in harmony with each other.

Principle of Olympism

The principles of Olympism as described below, amplify the Olympic values and allow them to be expressed in a way that drives far-reaching social change.

Non-discrimination – A principle of non-discrimination is at the heart of Olympism. The Olympic Movement strives to ensure that sport is practiced without any form of discrimination whatsoever.

Sustainability – The Olympic Movement organises and delivers programmes in a way that promotes sustainable economic, social and environmental development.

Humanism – The Olympic Movement’s activities place human beings at the centre of its attention, ensuring that the practice of sport remains a human right.

Universality – Sport belongs to everyone. In all its decisions and actions, the Olympic Movement takes into account the universal impact sport can have on individuals and society.

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Solidarity – The Olympic Movement is committed to developing programmes that, together, create a meaningful and comprehensive social response to issues within its sphere of influence.

Alliance between sport, education and culture – The Olympic Movement is committed to promoting the spirit of Olympism, which emerges at the convergence of sport, culture and education.

Olympic Core Values

It is expected that sport can and should make a positive contribution to the development of youth and to the quality of life in our communities. Sport is never neutral. It teachers values, it helps people to develop a positive self-image and respect for others, it strengthens community and sport brings people together, foster friendship, reinforce healthy lifestyles, build civic pride and community participation.

It is essential for parents, teachers, religious organisations etc, to actively support positive values in sport in simple and powerful ways. This responsibility must be undertaken by everyone, especially those associated with youth in communities, such as schools, community groups and sport clubs, in order to build a strong and positive sport culture.

To articulate its vision more effectively, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set out to clarify the meaning of the Olympic Values and place them within a comprehensive framework. The goal was to show how the Olympic values are linked to the movement’s mission, activities, guidelines and principles, and to find ways of communicating what the IOC stands for more clearly.

The three core values of the Olympic Movement, which inspire us on individual and organizational levels, are excellence, friendship and respect.

Excellence – In the Olympic ideal, this value refers to the giving of one’s best, either on the field of play or in life. It is not only about winning, but also participating, making progress against personal goals, striving to do our best in our daily lives and benefitting from the healthy combination of the strong body, mind and will.
Friendship – The Olympic Movement encourages links and mutual understanding between people. “Friendship” refers to building a peaceful and better world through solidarity, team spirit, joy and optimism in sport. The Olympic games inspire people to overcome political, economic, gender, racial or religious differences and to forge friendships in spite of those differences. For those athletes these means forming life-long bonds with their teammates as well as their opponents.

Respect – This value represents a principle which should inspire all those who take part in Olympic programmes. Respect for oneself and one’s body, respect for one another, for the rules as well as for the environment. It refers to the fair play attitude that athletes should have, and to their commitment to avoid doping.

Individual Value
The following are the most important individual values that encourage and support sport participation among young people;

Fun – Children and adults primarily participate in sport- whether organised or not – in order to have fun and enjoy time with their friends.

Tolerance and Mutual Respect – There are two equally important aspects of respect that should be taught to children through sport – self – respect and respect for others. Respect help “humanize” sport as well as provide children and young people with a critical social value that will guide their decisions and actions throughout their lives. Tolerance is essential for us to learn to live together harmoniously

Access – The benefits of sport cannot be fully realized unless everyone has access to it. Sport is a right not a privileged and its benefits should be maximized for all, regardless of their economic status, ethnic background, skill or gender. We need to ensure that sport is inclusive at its introductory levels, to give children a solid foundation from which to continue participating in sports throughout their lives. Often, a sport system is inaccessible because it focuses on developing elite athletes tothe detriment of the others involved. Access for all can also build a sense of community by providing common experiences for people.

Fair Play –The value of fair play makes a unique contribution to society because it encompasses other values, such as respect, tolerance and inclusion, and it promotes fairness and honesty. We will know we have fair play if children continue to be involved in community sport throughout their lives and show respectful behavior to parents, coaches and officials, also need to be respectful to children. To build fair play values into community sport, athletes should be continually recognized for efforts and participation and not just for winning and loosing, (e.g fair play awards).

About the author

Dr. Mrs. Esther Oluwatoyin Aluko is the Coordinator of Nigeria Olympic Academic, Exco Member, Nigerian Olympic Committee and President of Association of Former Female Athletes of Nigeria (AFFAN).


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