Citius – Altius – Fortius

The original Olympic motto  “Citius, Altius, Fortius” which means “Faster, Higher, Stronger” was adopted with the launch of the Olympic Movement in 1894 at the urging of founder Pierre de Coubertin, who wanted a slogan that expressed excellence in sport. These three words were meant to encourage athletes to give their best during competition. Pierre de Coubertin proposed the motto, having borrowed it from his friend Henri Didon, a Dominican priest who taught sport close to Paris. 

The motto can be compared to the Olympic creed which says: “The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.” The inspiration for the creed would come later, following a sermon given by the Bishop of Pennsylvania, Ethelbert Talbot, during the Games of London in 1908.

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part.

Pierre de Coubertin, (founder of the modern Olympic Games)

As Bronte Barratt says, the motto isn’t fastest, highest, strongest. All progress has emanated from the desire to improve, to be BETTER. Records will be broken, human potential will be stretched to the limits and athletes will do BETTER than ever before despite social, political and human setbacks. The same applies to any field in life. Whatever we achieve today, whatever records be set in the Tokyo Olympics, at some point, someone will surpass them.

While each of the athletes, competing at this Olympics are there to win, they also know that only a few of them will. Likewise for us, not all of us can achieve the great heights of glory and professional success that we look to with envy in others. We won’t all be CEO’s or have our business listed on the Fortune 500.  We won’t all be hailed as heroes, geniuses or trail-blazers and accorded the status that goes with it.  But what gets in the way of most people ever having a chance of achieving the success they are capable of, is not a lack of luck or talent, but simply a lack of courage and determination to pursue it.

It’s not the triumph that ultimately defines who we are, but our willingness to work hard toward a goal that is bigger than we are, knowing that as we do, we will discover just how capable we truly are and attain our own personal best.  After all, isn’t that ultimately what the true Olympic spirit is about?

If a legally blind archer can set a new world record, then what excuse do any of us have for not achieving more?

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