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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

www.olympic.orgOLYMPIC REVIEW33OLYMPIC VALUESit works with Olympic Games' Organising Committeesto help ensure the development of environmentallysustainable venues and practices. In streamlining the way it discusses the Olympicvalues, the Olympic Movement has not diluted themeaning of the concepts that Coubertin so eloquently promoted more than 100 years ago. Rather, the Movement has simplified the articulation of those values, focused on those that take intoaccount the specificity of the sporting environment, andstrived to place them in a contemporary context. As aneducational reformer with great skill in getting his pointacross, Coubertin would have expected nothing less.The values of excellence, friendship and respectare the foundation upon which the OlympicMovement blends sport, culture and education for thebetterment of human beings and humankind. Theyencompass the moral and ethical standards that arethe basis of all Olympic Movement strategies andactions. They promote a concept of quality based oneffort, not results. They encourage us to be the bestwe can be, achieving our personal dreams. Above all,they inspire us to nurture human and personalconnections and to become true world citizens. TheOlympic Games and the broader Olympic Movementshow us the best of humanity and remind us of the part we can play.The Olympic values have always mattered. Andthey always will. They give the Olympic Movement itsuniversal character, its respected presence and itsdistinctive success. They also are what give the world hope for a better future. ?BelowTheOlympic flag iscarried into theStadium duringthe OpeningCeremony at theAthens Games