Pierre de Coubertin and The Modern Olympic Movement Essay

Pierre de Coubertin and The Modern Olympic Movement Essay

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At the same time that sport is a product of social reality, it is also unique. No other institution, except perhaps religion, commands the mystique, the nostalgia, the romantic ideational cultural fixation that sport does. No other activity so paradoxically combines the serious with the frivolous, playfulness with intensity, and the ideological with the structural. (Frey & Eitzen 504)

Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, was born in 1863, into a family of French nobility. (MacAloon 8) Coubertin was raised during an era of French conflict and transition; the Franco-Prussian War, government instability during the time of the Paris Commune and then move to the French Third Republic, as well as the Dreyfus affair, left the French nation in turmoil during his youth. Inevitably, Coubertin’s character and beliefs were greatly influenced by his experience in this era of conflict as well as his lineage.
In 1883, Coubertin went to study to study physical education in England. There, he developed a passion for sports education. (Hill 5; MacAloon 43) His studies lead him to believe that sports education had reached its peak in ancient Greece, “where the gymnasia of Athens had created what he called a triple unity” (Hill 6) that brought together people from different places in society. From this Greecian ‘ideal,’ Coubertin created his concept of the modern Olympic Games. He believed that through exposure to other nations through competition, people could learn about each other and eventually form le respect mutuel. (MacAloon)
To ask the peoples of the world to love one another is merely a form of childishness. To ask them to respect one another is not in the least utopian, but...

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...ory of the power brokers, events, and controversies that shaped the Games. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
“Sochi by the numbers: The mind-boggling numbers behind the 2014 winter olympics.” 2014. Radio Free Europe Documents and Publications, January 27. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1491821936?accountid=14749. Accessed April 23, 2014.
Wilson, Harold Edwin, Jr. The Golden Opportunity: A Study of the Romanian Manipulation of the Olympic Movement during the Boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Diss. Ohio State University, 1993. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms International.
Young, Christopher. “Olympic Boycotts: Always Tricky.” Dissent 11, no. 3 (Summer 2008), 67-72. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Zhemukhov, Sufian and Robert W. Orttung. 2014. “Munich Syndrome: Russian Security in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.” Problems of Post-Communism 61(1): 13-29.

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