The history of sport is something that has always fascinated me. The origins and evolution of sport as we know them are steeped in history and reflect society over the years; their stories are rich with detail and intrigue. I found myself inspired this week watching our children compete and participate in our sports days, and reflected that the values and traditions often established hundreds of years ago ring true today.
The formation of the modern Olympics are widely attributed to Baron Pierre de Coubertin who founded the IOC in 1894, followed by the first Modern Olympics competition held in 1896 in Athens. These games have evolved over the years, but the guiding principles have remained from the Ancient Olympics competed in the 8th Century BC.
The Olympic motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius, a Latin expression meaning “Faster, Higher, Stronger” was proposed by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894 and has been official since 1924. Coubertin’s Olympic ideals are expressed in the Olympic creed:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
127 years later and we are encouraging our children to honor these ideals and try their hardest. Winning and losing with grace are essential life skills and we remain incredibly proud that our children are able to share delight in their own but as importantly the success of others. Supporting, encouraging, celebrating and commiserating as a house or class team was evident across the school this week. I shared in the emotions of other spectators cheering the winners across the line but applauding the last place athletes with equal enthusiasm. The children led by example with this, with countless examples of them cheering and supporting their friends to the end. We were very proud of every single one of them.
I was heartened that this sporting attitude in no way diminished the achievements, skill and athleticism on display. I know a school whose motto is “Play to win but lose with a grin”, a great sentiment, and all the events were competitive. Praise and recognition go to all the children who made the podium, but the events are deliberately staged so that every child contributes to the overall success of their house regardless of position, very much in line with de Coubertin’s Olympic ideals.
When the sun eventually shone on our beautiful grounds, it did so on a wonderful display of ability and kindness. The events were made all the more special by the community feel and it was lovely to catch up with so many families. In 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the addition of the word “together”, to the motto; it now reads “Citius, Altius, Fortius – Communiter”, Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together” . BPS would have done de Coubertin proud this week!
Have a lovely weekend and enjoy our family fun day, where we look forward to enjoying more time together.