MOSCOW, February 10. /TASS/. Russian billionaire philanthropist Alisher Usmanov has 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,’ the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement Monday.
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.
“Today we are witnessing history. At one level, we are witness to this historic document, the manuscript of the speech that laid out the philosophical foundations of the Olympic Movement,” IOC President Thomas Bach was quoted as saying in the statement. “On another level, we are witnessing a historic moment, with this manuscript returning to its Olympic home, the place where it belongs.”
Thanking Usmanov, who is also the president of the International Fencing Federation, IOC President Bach said: “This donation today goes well beyond the handing over of a manuscript to The Olympic Museum.”
“Your generosity is making this unique moment possible, a moment that reminds us so vividly of the mission of the Olympic Games to unite the world in peaceful competition,” Bach stated.
“It is thanks to your generosity that we can reflect on our history today and celebrate this direct link to our founding father,” the IOC president added.
The 66-year-old Russian billionaire philanthropist said that the Olympic Museum in Switzerland was the only place, where Coubertin’s historic manifesto belonged to.
“This manuscript is the manifesto for the modern Olympic Games. Pierre de Coubertin had a vision of a world united by athletic pursuits and not divided by confrontations and wars,” Usmanov said. “I believe that The Olympic Museum is the most appropriate place to keep this priceless manuscript.”
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,” Professor Wassong said.
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.