By Stan Greenberg
Last updated 2011-03-03
Two great traditions of the Olympic Games are depicted here. Firstly, the Olympic Creed shown on the scoreboard. It reads 'The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.' This message has been displayed at every opening ceremony since 1932.
It is usually attributed to Baron de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Games, but it is actually based on words used in a sermon by the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania, Ethelbert Talbot, given in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, in July 1908.
Secondly, the relay of the sacred flame is also depicted here. The modern idea of a flame was first introduced in Amsterdam in 1928, recalling that of the Ancient Games where a flame would burn at the altar of the statue of Zeus at Olympia. In 1936 Carl Diem, the chairman of the Games organising committee, suggested that a flame should be lit in Olympia in Greece, and it should be brought by a series of relay runners across Europe to the Berlin Olympic stadium. There a cauldron would be lit, which would burn for the duration of the competitions. This has been done ever since.
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