Olympism & Value Legacies in London 2012 Olympic/ Paralympic Games

Olympism & Value Legacies in London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Venue – Room G01, Clore Management Centre Building, Birkbeck College, University of  London, London WC1E 7HX – for directions click here.
Wednesday 11th May 2011 at 6pm

Given by: Dr Dikaia Chatziefstathiou, Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Sport and Leisure, Canterbury Christ Church University


The term ‘Olympism’ was first coined by the founder of the modern Olympic Games, the French aristocrat Baron Pierre de Coubertin. Coubertin understood, towards the end of the nineteenth century, that sport would become a central point of popular culture and was working towards the definition of a universal philosophy that would have sport and physical activity at its core. In his Memoires Olympiques (1931) Coubertin interpreted Olympism as a “school of nobility and of moral purity as well as of endurance and physical energy – but only if…honesty and sportsman-like unselfishness are as highly developed as the strength of muscles” (p. 208). Thus, Olympism aimed at the harmonious development of the intellectual, moral and physical aspects of a human being through athletic competition. Hence it was developed as a philosophy consciously intended as a set of rules or propositions not simply about sport and its governance but about how one’s life should be led, and thus clearly can be implemented as a useful set of values which can be applied across a variety of contexts and people. This presentation will explore the different meanings of Olympism and how the Olympic and Paralympic values can be captured in practice in varying ways which extend beyond the somewhat narrow scope of sport, exercise and physical activity.


  • Chatziefstathiou, D. ‘Paradoxes and Contestations of Olympism in the History of the Modern Olympic Movement’, Sport in Society, Special issue on Olympic reform, forthcoming.
  • Chatziefstathiou, D. ‘Olympism: A learning philosophy for physical education and youth sport’, In K.M. Armour, Introduction to Sport Pedagogy for Teachers and Coaches: Effective learners in physical education and youth sport, Sage, London, forthcoming
  • Chatziefstathiou, D. and Henry, I.P. (2009) ‘Olympism, Governmentality and Technologies of Power’, Esporte e Sociedade Journal (Sport and Society Journal), Volume 12, July-August 2009
  • Chatziefstathiou, D. (2007) ‘The History of Marketing an Idea: The Example of Baron Pierre de Coubertin as a Social Marketer’, European Sport Management Quarterly (EASMQ), Vol. 7, No. 1, 55_80, March 2007
  • Coubertin, P. (1931) Memoires Olympiques, Bureau international de pedagogie sportive, Paris.
  • Weed, M., Coren, E., Fiore, J., Mansfield, L., Chatziefstathiou, D., Wellard, I. and Dowse, S. (2009) ‘A Systematic Review of the Evidence Base for Developing a Physical Activity & Health Legacy from the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games’. Commissioned by Physical Activity Network West Midlands on behalf of Regional Physical Activity Teams in the West Midlands, the East Midlands, the East of England, London and the South East.


Dikaia Chatziefstathiou is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Sport and Leisure at the Department of Sport Science, Tourism and Leisure and member of the Centre of Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (SPEAR) in Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. She is an expert in Olympic Studies and her work on the ideology of Olympism and values has been widely published and cited in peer-reviewed academic journals nationally and internationally. She is the winner of the inaugural Coubertin Prize 2008 awarded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee (IPCC) for her qualitative research on Pierre de Coubertin’s writings and speeches.

Among her most recent activities include her convening role at the Special Olympic Interest Group of the Higher Education Academy, the coordination of the national university student competition for the Coubertin Olympic Awards (led by the Institute of Business Ethics and IPCC) and her membership in several regional steering groups mainly in relation to Cultural Olympiad.

As an international expert of Olympic Studies she has presented keynote speeches and invited papers at numerous conferences and events in the UK and worldwide and has been invited as a visiting professor in the International Olympic Academy (Olympia, Greece) and in the international Masters Programme in Olympic Studies (organized by the German Sport University Cologne, the University of Mainz, Loughborough University, the Autonomous University of Barcelona and University of Lyon). She acts as an International Research Expert for the Centre for Olympic Studies & Research at Loughborough University and is currently the Guest Editor for the Special Olympic Issue of the European Sport Management Quarterly (jointly with Professor Ian Henry).

Contact Details

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For further details on this seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763

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