Striving for athletic excellence : a core value and challenge for the profile of the ancient and modern Olympic Games

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Bibliographic Details
Title translated into German:Das Streben nach sportlicher Höchstleistung : zentraler Wert und Herausforderung für das Profil der antiken und modernen Olympischen Spiele
Author:Bertling, Christoph; Wassong, Stephan
Published in:The international journal of the history of sport
Published:33 (2016), 4 (Olympic perspectives), S. 434-450, Lit.
Format: Publications (Database SPOLIT)
Publication Type: Journal article
Media type: Electronic resource (online) Print resource
ISSN:0952-3367, 1743-9035
Online Access:
Identification number:PU201606003725

Author's abstract

As International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach emphasized at the IOC Session in Monaco in December 2014, one of the IOC’s central tasks is the appreciation of the Olympic values to stress the uniqueness of the Olympic Movement. This includes the value of athletic excellence. This paper illustrates how the significance of athletic excellence was already inherent in the Ancient Olympic Games, how it was understood by Pierre de Coubertin, and how the IOC encountered undermining processes of it. Importantly, it is also demonstrated that without a contemporary and strategic adaptation of the idea of ‘athletic excellence’ the Olympic Movement would have been significantly weakened throughout different time periods. Hence, the continuation of the central idea ‘athletic excellence’ has occurred parallel to its constant transformation.