23
Feb
10

An Olympic Truce

Olympic Truce Logo

Well, it’s been a busy week in Vancouver during these Winter Olympics.  Even non-athletes are experiencing Olympic exhaustion just from cheering and celebrating with such gusto!  The story of these games seems to be the extraordinary delight and camaraderie demonstrated among locals and visitors. There is good natured rivalry among different nations’ peoples and an apparent pleasure taken in just meeting one another and sharing stories, even if standing in a many hour long line-up for a pavillion or activity. This friendliness factor is apparently spontaneous but reminds me of an already mandated element of peace in the Olympics. .. the Olympic Truce.

Here is the Truce story as it appears on the Official Olympic movement website (Olympic.org) :

The tradition of the Olympic Truce dates back to the 9th century BC, in Ancient Greece. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to revive this ancient concept in order to protect the interests of the athletes and sport in general.

The idea

The tradition of the “Truce” or “Ekecheiria” was established in ancient Greece in the 9th century BC by the signature of a treaty between three kings. During the Truce period, the athletes, artists and their families, as well as ordinary pilgrims, could travel in total safety to participate in or attend the Olympic Games and return afterwards to their respective countries. As the opening of the Games approached, the sacred truce was proclaimed and announced by citizens of Elis who travelled throughout Greece to pass on the message.

Its relevance today

Taking into account the global context in which sport and the Olympic Games exist, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to revive the ancient concept of the Olympic Truce with the view to protecting, as far as possible, the interests of the athletes and sport in general, and to encourage searching for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts around the world.

Through this global and symbolic concept, the IOC aims to :

  • mobilise youth for the promotion of the Olympic ideals;
  • use sport to establish contacts between communities in conflict; and
  • offer humanitarian support in countries at war ; and more generally :
  • to create a window of opportunities for dialogue and reconciliation.

The IOC undertakings for the Olympic Truce extend beyond the period of the Olympic Games and have led to the implementation of a series of “sport for peace” activities through its National Olympic Committees.

  “Sport alone cannot enforce or maintain peace. But it has a vital role to play in building a better and more peaceful world.”
Dr Jacques Rogge, IOC President, October 2007

 

The symbol (see above)

The Olympic Truce is symbolised by the dove of peace with the traditional Olympic flame in the background. In a world that is plagued by wars and animosity, the peace-dove symbol represents one of the IOC’s ideals to build a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal. The Olympic flame has brought warm friendship to all the people of the world through sharing and global togetherness. In the symbol, the flame is made up of colourful effervescent elements – reminiscent of festivities experienced in the celebration of the human spirit. These elements represent people of all races coming together for the observance of the Truce.

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