The Olympic Games , from antiquity to today
The history of the Olympic Games from antiquity is long and tumultuous. It begins in 776 BC and continues for over 1000 years. For the majority of this period, the games were held in Olympia, in Greece, a city that is now a popular tourist destination. The Ancient Olympic Games took place every four years and lasted five days, during which athletes from all Greek cities competed in a variety of sports in honor of Zeus. Speed, endurance, throwing, jumping, boxing, wrestling, pankration, and chariot racing were regular sports disciplines presented at the ancient Olympic Games. Often at war, these cities battled on the war-cries to expand their territory and broaden their way of life, their political, religious and economic influence, the Olympic Games constituted a beneficial and surprising 3 month written in the bloody history of Greek civilization.
These popular festivities welcomed some 400,000 Greeks from all over the country to attend the competition and honor the gods. The Olympic Games were deeply entrenched in the culture of Ancient Greece as the games of the circus were in Ancient Rome. Athletes ran naked in order to display their greatest simplicity in front of the gods but also for safety reasons, as clothes could hide weapons. The stakes were high for these athletes coming from all corners of the Mediterranean, and winning a competition at the Olympic Games allowed them to acquire immense fame in their city and all corners of the ancient world. Their exploits equalled those of mythology and war stories of the time.
The notoriety of the winners and ... Cheaters
The winners received a palm and a headband symbolizing their success at the Olympic Games. On the5th and last day of the games, they made a lap of the track to the cheers of the public before being crowned by a wreath of wild olive trees from sacred olive trees. Wealth and recognition awaited the victors forever. Poets wrote odes in their name as Pindar did in his time.
If winning the games guaranteed an athlete posterity, the stakes encouraged some to cheat to achieve it and if cheating was common, getting caught resulted in an eternal debt to the gods. The statues of the Altis, the sacred enclosure of Olympia are the proof, these statutes were erected by the fines paid by unmasked cheaters.
Pierre de Coubertin
and the sporting legacy of the ancient Olympic Games
Like the Egyptians and Romans, the Greeks profoundly marked the history of the Mediterranean. The Olympic Games, symbols of sports peace and odes to performance, have influenced our world and the arts before being brilliantly revived from oblivion by a man who was both a politician, historian, athlete, and artist, who made this vision the mission of his life, Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
Diane de Navacelle de Coubertin and Lucie Llong in front of a painting of Baron Pierre de Coubertin – Musée de l’Olympisme, Lausanne
Pierre de Coubertin was born in 1863 into a family of French aristocracy. The turbulent history of France at this time, marked by periods of war and political instability, strongly influenced the young Pierre on his path to posterity. The advent of the Third Republic in 1870 after the fall of Napoleon III during the Franco-Prussian War and the Industrial Revolution certainly helped to bring about the dream of recreating the Olympic Games. In a world that launches its race to industrialization by pursuing our best English enemies, the sport practiced in British universities will become one of the favorite pastimes of the English nobility and aristocracy before spreading to other European countries. On the other side of the Channel, the school for all wanted by Jules Ferry will precipitate our country into modernity and the world we know today.
An accomplished athlete himself, practicing fencing, horse riding, rowing, boxing and shooting, Baron Pierre de Coubertin will understand that sport can be a universal model of inclusion and performance, campaigning for sporting practice in schools.
In parallel with the development of school sport, the first multi-sports clubs are created in France on the English model, the Racing Club de France created in 1882 and the Stade Français created in 1883 are quickly followed by many others throughout the territory. Pierre de Coubertin, passionate about rugby, will even referee the first rugby match in France a few years later and will award the first Brennus Shield, designed by him and made by his friend Charles Brennus, genius medal maker. A story to discover in Paris. A few years later, the 1901 law laid the foundations for future non-profit sports associations. The sport in France is definitely launched.
On this fertile ground of history for the development of sport, Pierre De Coubertin launched in November 1892 during a conference the crazy project of renovating the Olympic Games in a legendary speech and a manifesto that will soon be included in the permanent collection of the Olympic museum in Lausanne. To accompany him, he created in 1894 the International Olympic Committee in Paris.
Well beyond the Olympic Games, it is Pierre de Coubertin’s humanist vision that still resonates in the world today. His will repeatedly pronounced to live in a world without war where harmony between peoples is not a utopia. For him, sport is this unbreakable link and the organization of a major, peaceful and universal competition will be the concrete link between peoples.
The modern Olympic Games
Only 4 years after the founding speech, Baron de Coubertin organized the first Olympic Games in 1896 in the heart of Greece in Athens. He will retain until his death this unbreakable link with ancient Greece.
Citius, Altius, Fortius
Faster, higher, stronger
Baron Pierre de Coubertin
The 1st modern Olympics - Athens - 1896
Being an Olympic athlete, meeting Eva Serrano
European Gymnastics Champion
2 participations in the Olympics (Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000)
10 medals in international competitions
High Performance Expert Advisor at the National Sports Agency
The most beautiful record of the French Gym
Eva, could you introduce yourself?
I’m Eva Serrano, I started rhythmic gymnastics at the age of seven and I was for 11 years in the France team. I was the best French between 1993 and 2000 and I had 10 medals in European Championship and World Championship between 1997 and 2000, including a European Championship title in 2000.
I was a state executive for the French gymnastics federation from 2002 to 2022. I have had positions as a coach, national coach, juniors, head of coordination of the poles in France, head of high level, responsible for executive training and International Judge for 19 years.
Today, I work for the National Sports Agency. I take care of the deployment of the agency at the territorial level through the establishment of regional performance houses.
How would you describe gymnastics, your sport?
GR is a sport discipline with handling of 5 machines (rope, hoop, ball, clubs, ribbon); and artistic, with the production of codified gymnastic forms.
The gymnasts perform a sequence of logical actions, built by interacting the body, the machine, the music in a standardized space (practicable). It is practiced individually or collectively in a timed time to be seen and judged in order to establish a ranking.
It is an extremely demanding activity that requires physical qualities of extreme flexibility, tone, explosiveness and coordination while having to be elegant and artistic in order to communicate expressively with spectators and juries.
You have participated in many international competitions and 2 times in the Olympics, what differentiates the Olympics from other competitions?
The Olympic Games are really different. In rhythmic gymnastics, careers are short and it is rare to be able to participate in several Olympics. I managed to participate in 2 Olympic Games. What differentiates the Olympics from other competitions is first of all the rarity one every 4 years, the media magnitude of the event that make it a competition with a lot of stakes and pressure. It was the most stressful competition and I felt a lot of pressure especially in Sydney where I was potentially a medallist.
I was also selected to judge the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, and again I felt a lot of pressure even on the other side of the mirror.
Your best memory of the Games?
My best memory is entering the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta during the parade, my first Games. The emotion of returning to this huge stadium with the whole delegation, it was huge!
You returned to the Games in Tokyo as a referee, did your experience in Sydney influence your choice to become a referee and if so why?
Yes of course, I put even more pressure on myself because I had experienced a judgment not very fair as a Gymnast in Sydney. It was essential to be impartial and fair in Tokyo. And I’m proud to have stood my ground despite the pressure. The best won sportingly.
Eva in Sydney
What are your missions within the national sports agency?
Today I am very happy to have joined the National Sports Agency. I am in charge of the deployment of MRPs on the territory and the coordination of agents.
How has the preparation of high-level athletes evolved over the past 20 years?
It is a complex question. I would say that in view of the rise in the international level, high-level sport is more and more demanding, the quantity of training has increased but the quality of training to move towards more and more efficiency is essential. Supporting high-level sport requires more and more expertise in each category of performance. Coaches must develop more and more skills in order to be able to bring their athletes to high performance and one of the keys to great coaches is their relational and human quality. In addition to being great experts, they must be great companions of “men” to reach the highest world summits.
Why did you choose to join Guillaume Renoud’s collective 24 pour tous et tous pour 1?
I was touched by the values highlighted by Guillaume. Its action, its objectives are promising and then to accompany actions around the GR I am always up for it because it is my activity of heart.
How do you see the Paris Olympics in 2024?
The look would be a joy to be able to experience the Olympics in my country, after having experienced them elsewhere. I know the emotions that this will give to the entire population. The Paris Games will be unique, innovative and the party will be really successful if our athletes perform. I am happy to participate in their support by working at the Agency, which works so that all potential can realize these medals in front of our French public in Paris in 2024.
Finally, how could you define my artistic work on gym and sport in general?
Well it lacks the Gr… But what I like is the colors and style of the graphics that give a particular emotion to the movements for each drawing.
The Museum of Olympism with Diane de Navacelle de Coubertin
On Sunday, October 30, 2022, began for me a long journey to Lausanne to meet Diane de Navacelle de Coubertin, Eva Serrano, Olympic athlete in gymnastics and Guillaume Renoud accompanied by the Gymnastics Club of Louhans (71).
On the program of the day, the visit of the Museum of Oympism guided by Diane, the descendant of the illustrious Baron Pierre de Coubertin. A visit that will lead us in the footsteps of the Baron in his unwavering desire to revive the Olympic Games, the 1Eras Official invitations to the 1er drawings of the rings and then towards the history of the Olympics since the 1era edition in Athens in 1896 to today, a retrospective of one of the most publicized sporting events in the world. The importance of the Olympics today goes far beyond sport, it promotes and encourages international rapprochement for a more just and equitable world.
The association 24 for all and all for 1
The association 24 pour tous et tous pour 1 created in 2018 by Guillaume Renoud, a Judo and sports enthusiast, aimed to accompany 2024 children from all walks of life to meet able-bodied or disabled high-level athletes and to allow them to travel to high places of sport and Olympism. The initial project had 2 components: to allow young people to meet high-level athletes as previously mentioned and also to set up a travelling exhibition composed of works of art and objects that belonged to Olympic athletes. This project began with an exhibition in October 2018 at the Chintreuil Museum in Pont-de-Vaux a few months after the award of the Jo to the city of Paris. This historic event for French sport was the starting point of this project.
For 4 years, despite COVID periods related to the global pandemic that we have all experienced, the project continues its path and this visit to the Museum of Olympism in Lausanne accompanied by Diane de Navacelle de Coubertin and Eva Serrano is one of the most concrete examples. The leaders, educators and young people of Louhans rhythmic gymnastics took advantage of this project to discover the Museum of Olympism and perform live in front of the doors of the museum under the watchful eye of Eva Serrano, gymnast multi-medalist in international competitions and many visitors.
Performance of the young people of Louhans Rhythmic gymnastics in front of the Olympic Museum
Interview with Guillaume Renoud
Guillaume, We met in 2018, during the creation of your association “24 for all and all for 1” and the launch of the exhibition at the Antoine Chintreuil Museum, an exhibition mixing art and sport, I had already interviewed you on this occasion.
4 years have passed, how has your project, which has been concretely set up, evolved since 2018?
Since our 1stmeeting and this launch at the Museum of Pont-de-Vaux, a team was built quickly in the following weeks. Many desires, motivations and ideas to see this project come out and carry it until 2024. We had even carried out major work for the construction of the statutes, a regulation specific to the association and the establishment of working groups in 2019. Unfortunately, just as we were finding our balance in the association, 2 events hit us one after the other: the death of my vice-president and the arrival of COVID a month later. This unanticipated period will have had an impact on our vision of our project and on what seemed obvious to us then, before our eyes from the beginning but without realizing it, in relation to our initial final goal, namely to take 2024 children to a stadium in Paris and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Indeed, everything was there, in front of us, without waiting for 2024: partnerships, sponsorships, meetings,…, which would allow us to evolve our project and face the pandemic and the uncertainties around the Paris Olympics. Our final objective would therefore change in order to be even more meaningful and to transmit values. This is how we defined 24 values or notions carried by our association and we reformulated our objective in these terms: “To make children travel 2024 through the Paris Olympics and the values of Olympism”. Where our basic project would have led children to be spectators of it, we decided to make them actors on the ground, respecting a very specific formula: An action carried out + a defended value + a champion present for children.
Today, nearly 1500 children have participated in our project, being as close as possible to athletes or champions and living a unique experience with them and around an important value both in sport and in everyday life. Notions such as transmission, sharing, solidarity, gathering, tolerance, respect, humility, effort, surpassing oneself, equity or the symbol have been addressed through our actions.
What is your secret to federating so many athletes and sports stakeholders around your project?
I don’t think there is a miracle recipe. I strongly believe in the fact that these meetings or exchanges do not happen by chance, and what creates this unifying side is that we are all driven by the same passion, by the same desires of transmission and that we all defend what seems to us to be the true values of sport. And then I also think there’s this unusual side about me. A “little guy” of the countryside who fights for children and so that everyone can be on an equal footing with regard to the right to culture, knowledge, transmission and the joy also of seeing world-class athletes come home and outside the big cities. This is also what drives me: To remember that these looming Paris Olympics will not only be the games of Parisians or Île-de-France, but an event that must be carried by all French people and that must allow us to meet, gather and get out of this very difficult period for many of us.
What is your assessment of the day at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, with Eva and Diane?
I think we all had a rich and exceptional moment that day. Whether it is the young people, the parents, the accompanying persons, Eva and Diane, all will remember this day as a moment of sharing and symbolic highlights. It all started with an exit from the territory for some young people and this arrival on site, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Who better than Diane DE NAVACELLE DE COUBERTIN to serve as our guide during this day? Explanations about the Baron’s house, the Olympic flame and its motto, before immersing ourselves in a visit to the museum that impressed many of those present. In addition, it was with joy to introduce this place to Eva, who came for the first time to visit the Olympic Museum. After 1h30 of visit, anecdotes evoked by Diane, another highlight once again make this day incredible: the possibility for our young gymnasts to perform a choreography in front of the entrance of the Olympic Museum and with rings. This moment also reminded us why our association exists and how it wants to carry messages. It is therefore natural that this choreography ended with the construction of the Olympic rings and a souvenir photo that many young people will remember. This day was then almost over, but we wanted to write again a moment of emotion by going to the tomb of Baron Pierre DE COUBERTIN and leave a trace of our passage, leaving a parchment with the signatures of all the people present on the spot and hanging on a dove that Diane had brought straight from Athens. A day that ended symbolically.
What are the next steps for the association?
Our next steps will be turned towards 2023 from now on. As a first step and in your company, we plan to set up an exhibition on the association and the values defended where we can find paintings, our outfits and objects, the values of Olympism and our values, fun games and sporting challenges. This exhibition is currently being prepared. Several schools are interested and are beginning to come forward, which suggests a great success and the opportunity to reach and educate hundreds and hundreds of students. Then, we will try to pursue our objective by working on the implementation of actions where new values will be defended and where champions will be expected and hoped. We would like in this year 2023 to almost reach the symbolic figure of 2024 children / young people solicited in order to leave us the beginning of the year 2024 in the construction of an end (or perhaps the beginning of) for this beautiful human and collective adventure. Why not the idea of going there anyway, in Paris, to encourage all our athletes and especially our sponsors who will try to qualify.
Sports and legends of the Olympics
Michael Phelps is the man of all records, he dominated world swimming for more than 15 years, he participated in 4 Olympiads and won 28 medals including 23 gold, an absolute record.
Skiing and other board sports
If Chamonix hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, it was only a few years later in 1936 that alpine skiing made its appearance at the Olympics. The 1st Winter Olympics focused on events around skating, bobsleigh and Nordic skiing.
Isabelle won the snowboard competition in 2002 in Salt Lake City. A victory that he has definitively inscribed in the pantheon of French sport in an emerging sport.
Judo appeared for the first time at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, coincidentally, it is a major recognition for this sport combining strength, skill and self-control. Unsurprisingly, Japan dominates the Olympic judo rankings ahead of France which has asserted itself in recent years as one of the major nations of world judo with representatives such as Teddy Riner, David Douillet, Clarisse Agdegnenou or Sandrine Martinet in Handi.
The France won the 1stmixed team judo event at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 against Japan.
Olympic gold medal records