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The Olympic Motto

The well-known motto of the Olympic games, "Citius, Altius, Fortius," is Latin for "Faster, Higher, Braver." However, this phrase is most universally recognized in English as "Swifter, Higher, Stronger."

Alfred Flatow

Above: German Alfred Flatow
training on parallel bars (1896)

The motto that we know today was not part of the ancient Games. Henri Dinon, a Dominican father, pronounced these words for the first time on March 7, 1891 while delivering an athletic prize at Albert College, where he was a priest. He used it in many occasions in the journal Sports Athletiques, where he was one of the principal directors.

Michel Breal, a French educator like Coubertin, introduced the phrase at the closing dinner of the congress for the reestablishment of the modern Olympic games on June 23, 1894, where it was adopted as the official motto of the International Olympic Committee.




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