In 1892, Baron de Coubertin gave his long speech at a conference celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the establishment of the Union of French Societies of Athletic Sports (USFSA), which favored his idea to revive the Olympics. Coubertin emphasized sports and world peace in his famous speech.
The 14-page speech in French delivered by Coubertin is rich in content, covering the history of world sports in the 19th century and also describing the adventurous human spirit. The speech was acknowledged as the Olympic Manifesto and the earliest and the most authoritative document of the modern Olympics. Baron de Coubertin was honored as the father of the modern Olympic Movement. He made great contributions toward the establishment of the IOC in Paris in 1894 and the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896.
Regaining the original Olympic Manifesto
During wartime, Pierre de Coubertin was unable to publish the 14-page French-written text of the speech. He secretly kept the manuscript from destruction during the two world wars. But because of this the landmark Manifesto was almost forgotten by the world for more than a century.
However, Marquis François d'Amat, a French diplomatic analyst devoted to sports history, firmly believed that the original manuscript still existed.
Following the clues left in newspapers from the past, he traveled over Europe, North America and Africa and finally discovered the original manuscript inside a safe in a Swiss bank right before the 100th anniversary of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Marquis thus became the only person who had the right to authorize the Olympic Manifesto's circulation.
China entitled to publish Olympic Manifesto
Since the one-year countdown ceremony to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games began on last August 8, a copy of the Olympic Manifesto manuscript written by Pierre de Coubertin 115 years ago has toured 14 Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Qingdao.
At the Centennial Olympic Congress early in 1994, Samaranch, then President of the International Olympic Committee, made an ardent speech about the pamphlets published in English and French that hinted at the existence of the original manuscript.
Overseas Chinese and the Sino-French Friendship Association have acted as go-betweens, helping to obtain publishing rights from the Marquis d'Amat, the manuscript's discoverer and legal owner. Civilization Magazine was given the rights to publish it in Chinese, English and French.
(China.org.cn by Yang Xi, Huang Shan & He Shan, January 1, 2008)