What does Olympism mean to you?


How do you read and interpret Olympism? 


 Fundamental Principles of Olympism

1. Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles

2. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity

3. The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. 

4. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement. 

(Olympic Charter, Principles of Olympism, 2011) 



For me, I read Olympism through the lens of disability. I realize that this may be more of a modern reading of Olympism, but I think it is important that we start this conversation.

In each and every dimension of Olympism, I see the place of individuals and athletes with disabilities. 

Olympism is "a philosophy of life" for everyone, including people with disabilities. 

People with disabilities experience the "qualities of body, will and mind" just like others without a disability. 

"The joy of effort" is sought after by athletes with disabilities. 

People with disabilities strive for "universal ethical principles," and these principles also embrace disability. 

Last time I checked, people with disabilities are included in "the harmonious development of humankind," and also in "the preservation of human dignity."

I read "sport is a human right" and "without discrimination of any kind" to fundamentally include individuals with disabilities. Article 30.5 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities re-affirms this. 

Finally, when I read "or otherwise," I include disability here. Perhaps the term "disability" can be added to the list?


So, what does it mean for Olympism to embrace disability? How does this change things? 

I guess I'm still thinking about this. 

The one thing I know it means is that athletes with disabilities and people with disabilities are not excluded and separate from Olympism and the Olympic Movement. Instead, disability is a  central part of Olympism and the Olympic Movement overall. 

I think there is a great opportunity for Olympism to further include disability, and for disability to further integrate Olympism. 

Looking forward to the dialogue!