Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, was a most unlikely sports hero. A French aristocrat, he became fixated on physical education in the 1880s as he became convinced that athletic prowess could save his nation from military humiliation.

Pierre Frédy Baron de CoubertinOlympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of a good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

Pierre de Coubertin

To the ancient Greeks the Olympiades were far more than just sporting games. They were sacred rituals where men offered their body and their efforts to the gods.

Olympiades where so vital to the life of ancient Greeks that time and the games merged with the myth: at the very begnning, time and the Olympiades were born together. For the ancient Greeks, their history, which happened in a far away time where humanity and gods lived together, where born together with the Olympiades.
In fact, anciente Greeks calculated time with the Olympiades, which were not only the actual event, but the period of four years in between. So a Greek would say, the second year of the tenth olympiade to determine the year.

I dont’ think we can understand today what the Olympiades meant for the people who brought them into the world, but I see why XIX century people were fascinated with them to the point of resurrecting them. It’s an idea that goes beyond just sports. And I think that even in our world, where athletes are professionals and compete for money, where the Games are often turned into a cyrcus and nothing about them is remotely sacred, a part of what they meant to our ancestors still lives. We still see values in the competitions. Maybe a little, far away part of us still remembers.

I like to believe it.


History – 6th April 1896 – First modern Olimpics is held
Ancient History Encyclopedia – Olympic Games (definition)
British Museum – The Olympic Games in Ancient Greece

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About the Author

I was born, raised and I still live near Verona (Italy), though I worked for a time in Dublin. I started writing fantasy stories as a kid. Today I’m a bookseller who reads fantasy, history, mythology, anthropology and lots of speculative fiction. Somehow, all of this has found its way into my own dieselpunk stories.
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