Coubertin's Olympic vision / by Otto J. Schantz

Schantz, Otto J.

Edited by The Olympic Studies Centre - 2024

This article seeks to present and analyse the main influences and motivations underlying Coubertin's work and ideas. Shaped by his aristocratic family, after the failure of an originally planned military career, he tries to give his homeland, shaken by numerous revolts and wars, a new shine by means of a comprehensive educational reform. The Anglo-Saxon education system served as a model, with sport playing a key role, as Thomas Arnold supposedly proved. As part of a “virile pedagogy”, sport was intended to help prepare future elites for their duties in a rapidly changing world. According to Coubertin, sport can also make a significant contribution to social and international peace. To consolidate sport and promote its contribution to peace, Coubertin introduced the modern Olympic Games. Drawing on Victorian muscular Christianity, medieval chivalry and classical ideals of eurhythmy, he gradually developed a syncretic “philosophy of life”, celebrated through a world-wide festival with a quasi-religious aura created by invented traditions.

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