The Olympics and Philosophy

The Olympics and Philosophy

The Olympics and Philosophy

The Olympics and Philosophy

Excerpt

Philosophy and the Olympic Games not only share an origin in ancient Greece; the modern Olympics are the first and perhaps the only sports movement explicitly guided by a “philosophy of life.” This philosophy of life is known as Olympism. The Fundamental Principles of Olympism, which are articulated in the Olympic Charter, guide the movement’s values and aims, including its commitment to international cooperation and peace. The symbolism of the Olympic rings communicates the Olympic philosophy: each ring represents one of the five continents, and the colors represent all of the national flags of the world. The interlocking rings on a background of white symbolize the bringing together of these nations in peace. The Olympic rings are one of the world’s most recognizable symbols, but even a passionate fan might be unaware of the philosophy they symbolize. It is the purpose of this book to explain and explore Olympic philosophy.

Each chapter in this book looks at the Olympic Games from a different philosophical perspective. What they have in common is a concern for understanding all of the elements of the Olympic Games: the history and heritage, the ideals, and the politics of the Games. Philosophical issues arise in all of these various aspects of the Olympics. This is true of many realms of life, not just sport. But what sets the Olympics apart is that at its heart, the Olympic movement is a philosophical movement. The contributors to this volume explore the philosophy of the Olympics as it relates to athletic excellence, moral development, issues of race and gender, nationalism, politics, and a host of other issues.

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