The story behind the $8.8 million speech that fizzled, then set the Olympic movement ablaze | CNN
July 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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A cool reception to Pierre de Coubertin's speech proposing the Olympic Games didn't stop them from happening -- or the manuscript from selling for $8.8 million.
The audience was “not negative, but there was no support,” says David Wallechinsky, author and a founding member of the International Society of Olympic Historians.
Coubertin, a strong advocate for sports’ educational value, believed it “was good for the brain” and that “the mind and the body could work together, and they helped each other,” Wassong explains.
Having witnessed Englishman Hodgson Pratt propose an international student exchange to promote tolerance, at the 1891 World Peace Conference in Rome, “Coubertin took up this idea and … linked it with sport,” says Wassong.
When the night at the Sorbonne came, the speech latched on to the popular revival of all things Hellenic, and used the reputation of the Ancient Olympic Games to support his idea.
Sport was put on the same pedestal as the scientific and engineering innovations of the day: “It is clear that the telegraph, railways, the telephone, the passionate research in science, congresses and exhibitions have done more for peace than any treaty or diplomatic convention,” Coubertin said.
The speech “clearly laid down the educational fundamentals of the Olympic idea – of Olympism,” says Wassong, “and its mission to build a better world through sport. ”