THE CHALLENGE OFCOMMUNICATING VALUESAs the Olympic Movement widened its sphere ofinfluence to achieve Coubertin's original vision ofsport as a vehicle for individual and societalimprovement, it strived to remain true to its originalvalues, both in its actions and its words. Values, as intellectual concepts, are difficult todefine. They are thought of as universally www.olympic.orgOLYMPIC REVIEW31OLYMPIC VALUESaccepted or absolute. Yet they may vary inimportance from one stakeholder to another. Theymay mean different things to different peopledepending on the social or cultural context in whichthey reside. And they are interpreted through theunique lens with which each human being viewsthe world. As elusive and somewhat vagueabstractions, they are often easier to describethrough example than through strict and agreed-upon definition.?BelowJesseOwens and LuzLong began afriendship at the1936 BerlinGames that wasto last for therest of their lives"THE IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE IS NOT THE TRIUMPH, BUT THE FIGHT; THEESSENTIAL THING IS NOT TO HAVE WON, BUT TO HAVE FOUGHT WELL"?To promote the development of those physical and moral qualities that are the basis of sport.?To educate young people through sport in a spirit of better understanding between each other and of friendship, thereby helping to build a better and more peaceful world.?To spread the Olympic principles throughout the world, thereby creating international goodwill.?To bring together the athletes of the world for a sports festival every four years: the Olympic Games.In these four goals was born the foundation of thevalues that, collectively, have become known as"Olympism". Olympism is a philosophy and a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educationalvalue of good example and respect for fundamentalethical principles. For the individual, Olympism blendssport, culture and education to promote the proper and well-balanced development of the body, the willand the mind. For society, Olympism places sport at theservice of mankind by encouraging the establishmentof a peaceful society that preserves and nurtureshuman dignity.From the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 totoday, the Olympic Movement has turned to its valuesto help define the role sport plays in the development ofhumans and humankind. It has also continuallyreassessed its Charter and developed programmes toensure the relevance of sport in contemporary society.For example, over the years, it has expanded thescope of the Olympic Games to include summer andwinter competitions, and now welcomes athletes frommore than 200 countries. It has recognised (andfunded) a network of National Olympic Committees,and worked with them, and with International SportsFederations to develop future Olympians and providedirect support for athletes and coaches around theworld. It has launched initiatives that enhance the roleof sport in society, and has recently entered intodiscussions with the United Nations to develop "sportfor peace" projects. It has taken steps to promotehealth and human development, provide humanitarianassistance and advance women's participation insport, the Olympic Games and sports administration. Ithas added environmental sustainability as one of itsprimary concerns, along with sport, education andculture. And it has taken a strong and visible stanceagainst doping in sport. The Olympic values have inspired and influencedeach of these decisions, thereby playing a fundamentalrole in the Olympic Movement's notable success.
32OLYMPIC REVIEWwww.olympic.orgOLYMPIC VALUESThe Olympic values are no exception. The originalvalues that Coubertin saw as most important indriving the Olympic Movement included respect, fairplay, pursuit of excellence, joy in effort, and balancebetween mind, body and will. Yet, a definition of these five values was not always clear. As is often thecase, the difficulties inherent in discussing valueswere disguised by the general ease with which they were named. On the surface, the elusive nature of value definitions may not appear to beproblematic. After all, wouldn't everyone recognisethe original Olympic values as good and worthy?Indeed, they probably would. However, seriousquestions would remain. How, for example, was thevalue of respect upheld whilst women were excludedfor so long from competing in the Olympic Games?Can joy in effort co-exist as a value alongside pursuit of excellence? Isn't one extolling the virtue ofsuperior performance, whilst the other lauds simpleparticipation? In achieving a balance in mind, bodyand will, how are the proportions of this ideal balance to be determined, measured, observed andattained? Has the value of fair play diminished in light of the use of performance-enhancing drugs? Isfair play, in fact, a value to which athletes shouldaspire, or a condition that must now be enforced via drug testing? Simply accepting the values with no cleardefinition or adopting the position that claims "I'llknow an Olympic value when I see it" do little tofurther the dialogue about values and the role theyplay in shaping better people and societies. TheOlympic Movement, by belonging to everyone, isobliged to encourage discussion, debate andquestioning about the relevance of its values in thecontemporary world. This dialogue is made muchmore difficult when the Olympic values come to stand for many things. Multiple interpretations candilute their power. BACK TO THE FUTURE (AGAIN)Much as Coubertin looked to the ancient OlympicGames for inspiration in shaping the modern OlympicMovement, the International Olympic Committeelooked to Coubertin's original intentions for inspirationin simplifying the articulation of the Olympic values forcurrent and future generations. At its core, Coubertin'svision for "athletic pedagogy" rested on a set ofguiding moral principles that included nondiscrimination, respect for rules and others, unselfishactivity, and striving for a better world. He summarisedthis vision when he remarked that sport could play amajor role in creating a new world that is "purer, morechivalrous, more transparent and calmer".Whilst critics may argue that sport has hadminimal effect in creating this sort of utopianexistence, there is little dispute that the modernOlympic Games, in conjunction with the broaderOlympic Movement, have relied on these values tocreate one of the greatest social phenomena of ourtimes. More than simply an international sportscompetition that lauds individual or team efforts insporting excellence, the Games provide a forumthrough which non-discrimination, mutual respect andcooperation can thrive. They promote cross-culturalunderstanding and fair competition on a global stage.And they position sport as the basis for international friendships amongst athletes and fans, alike. Finally,the Games provide examples of the profound meaningof respect. In all these ways, the modern OlympicGames and the Olympic Movement are helping theworld live up to Coubertin's original vision. To articulate this vision more effectively, theInternational Olympic Committee recently set out toclarify the meaning of the Olympic values, and alsoplace them within a comprehensive framework. Thegoal of this new system was to show how the Olympic values link to the Movement's mission,activities, guidelines and principles, and to be able tostrengthen the communication of what the IOC is and what it stands for. Olympic values are now focused on three coreexpressions. The three fundamental values today areexcellence, friendship and respect:Excellence:Excellence describes the quality of effortthat permeates all of the Olympic Movement'sprogrammes. It is also the expectation that athletesshould set for themselves, captured in the OlympicMotto Citius, Altius, Fortius(Faster, Higher, Stronger). The value of excellence refers to striving to be the best in all that we do, as individuals and as groups working toward common goals. In pursuing- and ultimately measuring - excellence, athletes willnaturally compare their efforts to others'. But theprimary barometer of excellence will be reaching one'spersonal objectives. The Olympic Movement expressesits commitment to upholding the value of excellence ina number of ways, from flawlessly managing theOlympic Games to developing sports, education andculture programmes that enable the world's youth to be the best they can be. Friendship:The Olympic Movement is, at its heart,about people. The value of friendship is steeped in thetradition of the ancient Olympic Truce and refers,broadly, to building a peaceful and better worldthrough sport. The athletes express this value byforming life-long bonds with their team mates, as wellas their opponents. The Olympic Movement expressesthis value by reaching citizens of more than 200countries and territories and applying a fundamentalhumanistic approach to all its actions. Its goal is toplace men and women at the centre of its attentionand continually advocate and strengthen links betweenpeople and peoples. A number of programmes reflectthe Olympic Movement's commitment to the value offriendship. These include initiatives aimed at providinghumanitarian assistance, developing culture andeducation programmes, and encouraging opendialogue on sport and peace. Respect: Respect is the underlying moral imperativeof the Olympic Movement and the ethical principle thatshould inspire all who participate in its programmes.The universal value of respect refers to respect forourselves, for one another, for the rules, for fair playand for the environment. The Olympic Movementexpresses its commitment to this value in a number of ways and through a number of targeted initiatives.For example, the Olympic Movement plays a key role in the fight against doping in sport. It provides financialand programmatic support for athletes' developmentand women's advancement in the world of sport. AndAboveTwoyoung studentsprepare for teampractice