The pre-modern "Olympic Games" / by Jeffrey O. Segrave

Segrave, Jeffrey Owen

Edited by The Olympic Studies Centre - 2024

This article addresses and evaluates the pre-modern Olympic Games as part of the long arc of the Olympic Games story, focusing in particular on the ways in which in conception, form and ideology, the Olympic festivals of the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe informed the model ultimately adopted and promulgated by Pierre de Coubertin. The paper addresses the ways in which the Olympic name reverberated through the annals of the medieval and modern world; considers the multiple expressions of Olympic Games that emerged during the modern era, primarily in Europe; reflects on the ways in which the pre-modern games variously incorporated and popularised in both content and form the dimensions of Coubertin’s Olympic vision; and assesses the impact of the pre-modern games on Coubertin. Ultimately, the article argues that collectively the pre-modern Olympic Games suggest a seemingly inexorable movement toward the eventual establishment of a truly international revival and that while Coubertin was not the first to either propose or stage modern Olympic Games, he was the first to internationalise both Games and an attendant ideology.

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