Today, we celebrate the 70th Olympic Day, a worldwide occasion to embrace the Olympic Values: Friendship, Respect and Excellence – along with the four Paralympic values – Determination, Inspiration, Courage and Equality.
On 23 June 1894 the International Olympic Committee was formally established through the efforts of Pierre Coubertin, a Paris born aristocrat, nobleman, teacher, athlete and sports enthusiast.
Mr Coubertin had a vision of reviewing the early ancient Olympics, where everyone was accepted, nations put down their weapons for the duration of the Games (Sacred Truth) and took part in a peaceful competition. He believed, he could educate people on acceptance, friendship and different cultures through this enormous sports event. This idea now is as important as ever, and we remember Pierre Coubertin fondly.
But who would feel the spirit of the Olympics more than the ones who walked the Parade of Nations sharing their joy with the whole world? On this occasion, we asked our athletes how they felt about Olympic values and what special Olympic memories they hold dear.
Sarah Davies (GBR)
“The Olympic values not only embody everything that we should strive for when competing in sport but also everything we should strive for in our everyday life.”
“My first memory of the Olympics was watching the gymnastics in 2000 and I remember thinking, I want to represent my country at the Olympics one day! There was also something special about watching my fiancé Jack Oliver compete at the home Olympics in London.”
“Fair play can come in many forms, but I think the best act of a fair play I have witnessed and been a part of was during a British Championships where myself and 2 of my national teammates were head to head in the 63kg class. I and Emily had finished, and Zoe had the final lift and a British record attempt. Both I and Emily stood there to cheer her on and congratulate her regardless of her beating us in the competition.”
Gaëlle Nayo Katchanke (FRA)
“For me, the Olympic values mean respect for your opponents regardless of nationality or skin colour. Determination, courage, combativeness, surpassing oneself, fraternity over humility and equality between each athlete!
Dymtro Chumak (UKR)
“The Olympic Games have special values to me. Since ancient times it has been the top of sport and being involved in this event makes me feel very special.”
“I think it is very important in our time, that the athletes could compete in equal conditions, adhered to the Anti-Doping code and the IWF rules. Fair play determines the real champion.”
Kuo Hsing-Chun (TPE)
“In my mind, attending the greatest competition in the world is the highest honour for me, my family and my country.
“Getting the medals is important but the Olympic Games is so much more than that. If it wasn’t for the true spirit of sportsmanship, Olympic Games wouldn’t have become the most impressive sports event in the world.
“The Olympic Spirit includes not only the fair and peaceful competition instead of fighting and hurting each other but also inspires people to achieve victory through hard work and challenging, pushing ourselfs to the breaking point. “
“I always tell myself: be stronger, set higher goals and your dream will come true faster.”
Sivalingam Sathish Kumar (IND)
“Olympics are a dream. It’s not an easy thing to do, first, getting qualified is very tough. But once you’re in, it is a really big thing. If you won a medal there, you become part of the history and your life changes fully.”
“Unfortunately, I injured my back before I participated, so I ended up in 11th place.”
“We must play fair; every athlete needs clean and fair chances to win.”
Hidilyn Diaz (PHI)
“Olympic values mean the excellence that unites different people with different perspectives and beliefs. To be excellent I need the courage to continue what I love to do and determination to achieve my goals.”
“I had a wonderful experience at my first Olympics, in 2008 in London, when I was just a nobody and I didn’t know anything about the Games. But being there gave me the motivation to get qualified for the next one. My second Olympics, I lost. But on my third Olympics, I felt like I was God’s powerful champion. I won the silver medal when I thought my best chance is the bronze.”