Who knew that poetry used to be an Olympic sport? From 1912-1948, Olympians competed in The Arts, which included architecture, sculpture, painting, music and … literature. Medals were awarded for works inspired by sport. In fact, founder of the Modern Olympic, Baron Pierre de Coubertin is a previous gold medal winner, with his poem, ‘Ode to Sport’ (1912) written under the pen-names Georges Hohrod and M. Eschbach. For the musicality of it, I like stanza VI, but IX sums up the heart of the Olympics.
Ode to Sport
O Sport, you are Joy! At your behest, flesh dances and eyes smile; blood races abundantly through the arteries. Thoughts stretch out on a brighter, clearer horizon. To the sorrowful you can even bring salutary diversion from their distress, whilst the happy you enable fully to savour their joie de vivre.
O Sport, you are Peace! You promote happy relations between peoples, bringing them together in their shared devotion to a strength which is controlled, organized and self-disciplined. From you, the young worldwide learn self-respect, and thus the diversity of national qualities becomes the source of a generous and friendly rivalry.
Sadly, The Arts were dropped from the Olympic program amid concerns that winners would capitalise professionally on their success, thus undermining the amateur spirit of the games. There have been attempts to bring them back as medalled events, but no success … yet.
Which doesn’t mean we can’t add a late inclusion to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
This weekend I invite you to post your sport-inspired poem as a comment below. Copyright of the poems remains with the individual authors. There will be no gold medals… but I am sure your words will be golden, as your thoughts stretch out on a brighter, clearer horizon.
The Rio Olympics have seen some incredible sporting moments, and I’ve certainly been savouring joie de vivre. There has been generous and friendly rivalry. There has been diversity of national qualities. But as they draw to a close, let there be, more than anything, happy relations between peoples… and peace.
Poetry Friday is hosted by Dori at Dori Reads. There are always inspiring posts around the community. You’ll be the winner, if you click across and read.