Poetry Olympics – Join In!

My poem in the latest edition of Countdown, 100 years of School Magazine.

My poem, illustrated by Tony Flowers, in the latest edition of Countdown. 100 years of School Magazine. Could this have been an Olympic gold medal winner…? 😉

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.

Read in English; http://library.la84.org/OlympicInformationCenter
Read in French; http://olympic-museum.de

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.



  1. What an idea to bring that back now that the amateur nature of the Olympics bit the dust. I can’t imagine the commentators… Or the uniforms. Would they make female poets were bikinis? Hmm, that sounds like the beginning of a poem right there. LOL

    If ever poetry
    were brought back
    as an Olympic
    would female poets
    be required
    to wear

    Time to eat more lentil soup!


  2. What do you imagine the categories would be? I never imagined anyone waxing poetic about arteries, but de Coubertin managed! Thanks for teaching me something fun and new!


  3. I sort of mixed the idea of artist Olympians and the odes to Sport:
    O Sport, you are Spirit! Like a writer who puts pen to paper, welcoming words and seeking them wherever they may be, however deep or hidden, and like an artist, who finds colors within their mind, pulling their dreams forward with their last bit of strength, you persevere to make something new, using your will to find out how far you can go.


  4. This history is new to me. How wonderful to hear all about it. It would be fun to see who would be the Olympic medal winners. Thanks for the challenge, and the poems, Kat.

    Love Match

    Olympic sport I love you true.
    Nothing else will ever do,
    but golden circles at the end
    from runs and dives, then leaps and spins.
    Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved


    • Oh, me too, Linda. I always love the Olympics; the stories behind the athletes and their incredible achievements. Though I have to say, I was saddened by the crowd reactions to the men’s pole-vaulting… The respect and friendship with the excellence is what makes the Olympics so great.


  5. I competed in impromptu speaking in High School. Maybe the Literary Olympics could also require on-demand writing, cold-reads of picture books to toddler audiences, and other such feats of literacy!


  6. Now that’s a bit of history I did not know.

    Olympic Cinquain

    O sport
    you find a way
    to stretch my mind, to make
    my sedentary day seem like
    a play,

    a pun,
    a poem left
    unwritten, out of shape,
    in need of metaphor, lunging
    for gold.


  7. Congrats on the publication of your fun poem, Kat! I also learned something new here today. It’s so awesome that the Olympics used to include competition in the arts! And like you said in your reply to Brenda, so ironic how things have turned out.


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