The speech that paved the way for the creation of the modern Olympics was recently sold for a remarkable price, which made it the most valuable memorabilia in the sports world sold in history.
Before the Olympic Games turned into a multi-billion event known today, it was only an idea formulated by French nobleman Pierre de Coubertin. In 1892, the historian and educator expressed his thoughts that the games could once again become a significant part of the sports industry.
De Coubertin has an ambition of making the games reflect the best of mankind, like what it did during the ancient Greek tradition. It would become an achievement in the world of sports that could replicate society’s discipline and accomplishments since he experienced the war between Prussia and France while growing up, which was why he always dreamed about resurrecting the Olympics to promote world peace.
French academic created a long manuscript that outlined his dream. A collector recently put up the original document in a Sotheby’s auction in London. The auction sold it to an anonymous private collector for $8.8 million. It is the highest amount paid for sports memorabilia in history.
In February 2020, reports revealed that the 14-page manuscript was purchased by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov and donated it to the Olympic Museum for display. Usmanov, who also happens to serve as the President of the International Fencing Federation, turned over the original pages to International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach to display it in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Sotheby’s included the manuscript in the “Fine Books and Manuscript” collection of the auction house offered to the public in mid-December last year. Officially titled the “Olympic Manifesto,” the document showed the vision de Coubertin had about how the modern Olympic Games must run. Since his vision for the games became a major factor for the event, it became a valuable piece of history.
While he became a successful educator, de Coubertin’s aristocratic family originally wanted him to have a different career path. They believed that he must be a clergyman or a lawyer. However, he was very determined to pursue a different direction and focused his life on his craft.
In a statement, history expert Randy Roberts said that de Coubertin felt humiliated when Prussia defeated France during the 1870s. He believed that sports could be an ideal way to regain the lost French masculinity.
De Coubertin started putting his ideas about the Olympics speech in public in 1892. He stated that countries must export runners, rowers, and fencers. The act could serve as the “free trade of the future.”
While his ideas were not accepted initially by society, they gradually started to gain traction. In 1896, the modern Olympic Games opened in Athens, Greece. After four years, the Games were held in Paris, France then went on to different countries since then.
Japan’s capital city Tokyo was supposed to host the next summer Olympic Games in July this year, but the games were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The games are rescheduled to open on July 23, 2021.