The Olympic motto —"Citius, Altius, Fortius!" —has the most important words in the life of any athlete, reflecting the continual striving toward excellence.
- Photo: an envelope issued in 2000 in the Vatican with an image of Priest Henri Didon and his famous saying. Source: philatelydominicanorder.org
The motto's author - a priest.
The Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius!", which in translation means "Faster, Higher, Stronger!", is well-known not only to professional athletes, but to each person who has seen the major competitions even once —live or on television. However, not many people know that these words were stated not by Coubertin at all, but by the French priest Henri Didon at the opening of athletic competitions at one of the Paris colleges. De Coubertin, hearing this motto, believed that the priest's introductory words exactly reflected the goals of athletes around the world and decided to use the now famous phrase at the opening of the 1896 Games in Athens. However, the words were not approved as an Olympic motto until 30 years later in Paris.
- Photo: PietriDorando with his prize after the award ceremony Source: gettyimages.com
A motto as a justification.
The well-known unofficial motto, "The important thing is not winning but taking part", which is mistakenly attributed to Coubertin, was dedicated to the Italian runner PietriDorando. Because of the outside help provided to him at the finish during the Olympic Games of 1908 in London, Pietri was disqualified from the marathon distance run. It should be noted that the tragedy occurred because of help that Dorando did not even request. It is believed that it was on that very day that the Pennsylvania bishop serving at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London was so touched by the stories of the Italian athlete that he said the following words: "At the Olympic Games the important thing is not winning but taking part." With this phrase, which quickly became popular, he paid tribute to the athlete who fought with his last strength but could not win.
Incidentally, Pietri did not go without an award —he was given a special cup that the English royal family ceremonially presented to him.