The Olympic spirit is linked to the values and ideals of Olympism. The spiritual dimension of the Games was stressed from the beginning by Pierre de Coubertin himself and the Olympic values, which constitute the foundations of sports and Olympic education, were based on it. The contribution of these values to education and society is considered of outmost importance by the International Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Academy and international Olympic education institutions all over the world.
The spiritual dimension of the Olympic Games underpins the athletic, ethical and social education of young people all over the world. Respect for pluralism in sport, as part of the Olympic Movement’s cultural diversity is the dominant spiritual value of the Olympic Games. Moreover, the Olympic Games themselves are an example of peaceful social coexistence of athletes from different sporting and cultural backgrounds.
Olympism’s general philosophy is based on the principles of peace, fair play and fair contest with the view to creating a peaceful society with less violence and competition. In other words, Olympism leads to a different, idealized way of life that today’s society desperately needs.
The spiritual, educational and cultural dimension of the Olympic Games is what determines, however, the modern Olympic Movement’s cohesion and future course. The need to preserve and disseminate the values of the Olympic spirit, which underpin today’s Olympic philosophy and education and constitute sport’s strongest spiritual bond with societies, is widely recognized at international level.
Within this framework, the International Olympic Academy lays the foundations for the preservation and propagation of these values by means of ongoing international educational programmes aimed at the world at large. The method it has chosen is unique since it not only offers knowledge, but also the possibility for the young people who stay together in its facilities to experience the spirituality of Olympism; this makes it a pioneering Olympic Centre which combines, through its location and ideology, the ancient and modern spiritual Olympic tradition.
The establishment, in 2009, of the Master’s Degree Programme in Olympic Studies, in cooperation with the University of the Peloponnese and the generous contribution at the deginning of the John Latsis Foundation and then of “OLYMPIACOS FC”, bears proof to the propagation of the Olympic Ideals at the highest level.
The next step of the International Olympic Academy for the propagation of Olympism will be to create in the site of Ancient Olympia, a Documentation and Reflection Research Center on this philosophy related to the problems which contemporary society faces implementing in this way the second part of Pierre de Coubertin’s vision.