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42OLYMPIC REVIEW OLYMPIC CONGRESS A cross the global community - taking in athletes, sports federations, the media, marketing partners and, of course, spectators - the Olympic Games have long been regarded as the world's premier sporting event. And rightly so, as since the very first modern- day Olympic Games took place in Athens in 1896, the Olympic Movement has worked tirelessly to ensure excellence in every aspect of the event's organisation. The question now is what more can be done to ensure that the Games continue to maintain their premier status? As times move on, of course, so do the criteria by which major sporting events are measured. Technological advances, the financial rewards on offer for athletes, ever- increasing media coverage as well as sophisticated marketing campaigns, all change the topography of the playing field. This in turn necessitates renewed scrutiny to ensure that every aspect of the Games performs to capacity. The evidence of the Beijing Games suggests that the appeal of the Games is undiminished - the 2008 Games were the most watched in Olympic history with a potential global reach of 4.3 billion people, while the official IOC website and other Games- related sites attracted record numbers of hits. The Olympic Games also facilitate the coming together of nations from around the world to share their differing and diverse cultures and backgrounds, and this was amply illustrated in Beijing. Reflecting on the 16 memorable days of sporting competition in August 2008, IOC President Jacques Rogge said: " Through these Games, the world learned more about China, and China learned more about the world." Inextricably linked with the premier status of the Olympic Games is, of course, the notion of Olympic values - also known as Olympism. Olympism is a far- reaching, holistic philosophy that stretches beyond sporting performance by acknowledging the importance of a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit. By teaming sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to foster an entire way THEME 2

OLYMPIC REVIEW43 OLYMPIC CONGRESS of life based upon the satisfaction to be achieved from striving to be the best; the educational merit of leading by example; and a respect for certain core values. For the Games to remain at the pinnacle of the international sporting calendar they must continue to promote Olympism appropriately and effectively and performance criteria other than victory itself should be recognised and rewarded. Also key to the success of the Games is the ability of as many countries as possible - regardless of their economic means - to participate in all the major sporting events organised by the Olympic Movement. This core tenet is safeguarded by the principle of universality, whereby the Olympic Family assists with the design and implementation of policies that focus in particular on the needs of developing countries. In Beijing, athletes from a record 204 NOCs participated at the Games with competitors from 87 countries - more than ever before - winning medals. Now the challenge is how to advance the goals of universality still further. ¦ AboveThe Olympic Games is regarded as the world's premier sporting event and keeping it that way is one of the IOC's main priorities Daryl Cagle