MOSCOW, February 10. /TASS/. Russian billionaire philanthropist and President of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Alisher Usmanov said on Monday he believed in the bright future of the Olympic movement.
Usmanov made this statement as he donated to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne the original manuscript on the revival of the Olympic Games by Pierre de Coubertin, who is also known as ‘the father of the modern Olympics.’
“I am very proud that today at the Olympic Museum I am giving as a gift to the International Olympic Committee [IOC] a manuscript of Pierre de Coubertin, who is the founding father of the Olympic Games,” Usmanov said as he handed over the historic manuscript to the IOC. “Pierre de Coubertin’s ideas and messages are surprisingly still up-to-date representing the philosophy of the Olympic movement.”
“This is a multifaceted and wise philosophy and everyone finds something personally important in it,” he continued. “I personally view as very important such ideas as people’s aspiration for perfection and unification, since only a peaceful competition forms the noble basis for the Olympic movement.”
“This is as relevant as ever in the modern world, which opens unlimited opportunities for people, but at the same time is being torn by conflicts, contradictions and standoffs,” Usmanov said. “However, I am an optimist and I strongly believe in the bright future of the international Olympic movement, I am glad to see changes that took place in the sports movement of Russia.”
“The new sports authorities, the new sports minister and Dmitry Chernyshenko, who is a deputy prime minister of Russia and whom you all have well known for many years, are doing everything possible to leave behind all sad moments, which took place in the past,” Usmanov noted.
“I hope that it will all be properly assessed and Russian athletes will be again full-fledged participants of the Olympic Games, just like Pierre de Coubertin willed us.”
“On behalf of Russian Olympians, our Olympic champions and medalists, participants, coaches and management, I ask you, Mr. President, to accept this priceless manuscript as a gift for the International Olympic Committee,” Usmanov said addressing IOC President Thomas Bach.
The 14-page manuscript, which was written almost 130 years ago and contains Pierre de Coubertin’s original vision of the Olympic Games’ revival, garnered $8.8 million in an auction last December, but the name of the buyer was not disclosed.
Professor Stephan Wassong from the German Sport University in Cologne and the president of the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee remarked that Usmanov’s decision to donate the manuscript was an act of a rare nature nowadays.
“Academic honor must be given to the donor for presenting this valuable manuscript to The Olympic Museum as a place for discourse about, reflection on and understanding of the Olympic Movement. This kind of philanthropism has become rare today,” the official website of the IOC quoted Professor Wassong as saying.
Coubertin wrote the manifest in 1889 laying out the principles of reviving the ancient Olympics in the modern world and used it for his famous speech in Paris in 1892. Two years later, he founded the International Olympic Committee and the first modern Olympic Games were organized in 1896 in Athens.
Coubertin, who was a French educator and historian (1863-1937) is also the author of the Olympic Oath, the Olympics Emblem and he proposed the IOC motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger” (Citius, Altius, Fortius; in Latin).
The IOC named a special award after Coubertin, which is known as the Coubertin medal or the True Spirit of Sportsmanship. It is awarded by the world’s governing Olympic body to athletes, who have demonstrated the true spirit of sportsmanship during the Olympic Games.
The first president of the IOC, when Coubertin founded in 1894, was Demetrios Vikelas. Coubertin served as the president of the International Olympic Committee twice in 1896-1916 and 1919-1925.