Olympism and Olympians

"The important thing in these Olympiads is not so much winning as taking part" said the Bishop of Pennsylvania, Ethlelbert Talbot, in his sermon on 19th July 1908 in London during the Games of the IV Olympiad. Coubertin thought this message was "of great philosophical significance" and used it himself, adding his own personal touch. In his writings, Coubertin considered sport in its educational sense, declaring that "the important thing in life is not victory, but the fight; the main thing is not to have won, but to have fought well."

"The Olympic Games are prestigious and the athletes who take part in them truly believe in the "spirit of Olympism" and the power it has to unite the world and spread a positive message. We as athletes are proud to have the honour of representing our countries." Charmaine Crooks, IOC member, athletics, silver medallist, 4 x 400m relay, Los Angeles 1984

Admission to the Olympic Games

To be eligible for participation in the Olympic Games an athlete must comply with the Olympic Charter as well as with the rules of the International Sports Federation concerned as approved by the IOC, and must be entered by his National Olympic Committee. A competitor must notably:

World Olympians Association

The World Olympians Association (WOA) is an independent body set up on the initiative of the IOC President in 1994 following the Centennial Olympic Congress, the Congress of Unity. It aims to promote the development of relations between Olympic athletes in order to spread the Olympic ideals and to encourage the establishment of National Associations of Olympic Athletes (of which there are currently 100).

The mission of the World Olympians Association is to unite the nearly 100,000 Olympians around the world and involve them in the activities of the Olympic Movement.

Olympic Official Website