Sunday, July 29, 2012
England and the Father of the Modern Olympics
Photo of bust of Baron Pierre de Coubertin at the Museum Colet in Barcelona, Spain courtesy 123rf.com
Baron Pierre de Coubertin (1863-937) was a French aristocrat, who chose as his occupation the life of an intellectual, became an educator and historian, and wrote on many topics including education, history, literature, and sociology. He was profoundly impressed by the physical education opportunities in England, and helped to promote and expand them there, but was not successful in convincing France to do the same. He romanticized Ancient Greece, and also had strong views about physical education and its effect on society. All these interests, his theories about physical education, and his idealism caused him to want to revive the Olympic Games, to found the International Olympic Committee, and to take an active part in the administration of the beginning of the modern Olympic games.
The Pierre de Coubertin Medal, also known as The True Spirit of Sportsmanship Medal, is considered the highest award given at the modern Olympics, even higher than any gold medal.
There is a statue of him at the Gateway of Dreams in the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. There is also a statue of him where he was buried in Lausanne, the seat of the foundation of the modern Olympics; but as he desired, his heart was buried in a monument near the Olympia ruins, the site of the Ancient Greek Olympics.
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