The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic GamesAugust 8-24 2008
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Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games

The Olympic Motto

A motto is a phrase which sums up a life philosophy or a code of conduct to follow.

The Olympic motto is made up of three Latin words: "Citius, Altius, Fortius", which means "Faster, Higher, Stronger".

These three words encourage the athlete to give his or her best during competition, and to view this effort as a victory in itself.

The sense of the motto is that being first is not necessarily a priority, but that giving one's best and striving for personal excellence is a worthwhile goal. It can apply equally to athletes and to each one of us.

History The three Latin words became the Olympic motto in 1894, the date of the IOC's creation. Pierre de Coubertin proposed the motto, having borrowed it from his friend Henri Didon, a Dominican priest who taught sport to students.


To better understand the motto, we can compare it with the following well-known phrase:

The most important thing is not to win but to take part! This idea was developed by Pierre de Coubertin who had been inspired by a sermon given by the Bishop of Pennsylvania, Ethelbert Talbot, during the Games of London in 1908.

(Credit: IOC. Click here for further information.)

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