Archive for the ‘ Olympic Book Club ’ Category

History’s Greatest Forgotten Olympic Hero

History’s Greatest Forgotten Olympic Hero

Op-Ed by George Hirthler

The modern Olympic Movement seldom tells its origin story—and that’s a shame.  Because it’s a story that could serve as an important and inspiring counterpoint to the perfect storm of disasters that are thundering across the headlines in the run up to the Rio Olympic Games. It’s a biographical story of a small man with a giant spirit, a French aristocrat with an unrelenting drive and a vision for building a better world through sport.  It’s a heartbreaking story of personal tragedy, financial sacrifice and end-of-life anonymity that nevertheless propelled the Olympic Games to become the world’s greatest recurring celebration of humanity.

It is, of course, the story of the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin.  You may know the name, but few people outside the Olympic Family do.  In fact, Coubertin ranks as one of history’s greatest forgotten heroes.  People all over the world admire and follow his legacy, but few know his name.  More than 3.5 billion people—half the world’s population—tuned in to watch some part of the London 2012 Olympic Games—and Rio 2016 is on track to match London’s audience.  But across thousands of hours of Olympic broadcasts and billions of digital impressions, it is unlikely that the name of Coubertin will register.

And yet, his personal imprint will be seen everywhere.  As John MacAloon wrote in This Great Symbol in 1981, “No modern institution so important as the Olympics owes its existence so fully to the actions of a single person … Moreover, for all the vast changes that have accrued to the Games since their first celebration in 1896, they still bear indelibly—from their flag to their official ideology—the stamp of Pierre de Coubertin.”

Coubertin was born in Paris on January 1, 1863, the very day that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  While that is pure coincidence, it is a fact that Coubertin spent his life—and his family fortune—liberating people through sport.  When he was eight, he saw the disastrous effects of the Franco-Prussian war with Paris under siege and the 200,000 residents of the city literally starving. When he was eleven, the Germans began a six-year excavation of Ancient Olympia and his young imagination was inflamed as the classical world suddenly leaped from the pages of his Jesuit school books in statues, monuments and stories of Olympic legends long lost.  As a young aristocrat in Belle Époque Paris, he embraced the egalitarian values of the Third Republic and gained powerful political allies as he led the effort to introduce sport into the sterile French education system of the time, borrowing the model of games for schoolboys pioneered in Great Britain by Thomas Arnold of Rugby.

At twenty-six, he saw the grand possibilities of international events as the Eiffel Tower crowned the 1889 Paris Universal Exposition—and he organized the world’s first Congress on Physical Education as part of its program. As his mentor, Jules Simon, the former Prime Minister of France, delivered the keynote address at the  first Universal Peace Congress during that fair, Coubertin envisioned something even greater—a global festival of youth that would unite our world in friendship and peace through sport. 

Five years later, in the great hall of the Sorbonne, as he led 2000 delegates to resurrect of the Olympic Games in modern form, he said, “We shall not have peace until the prejudices which now separate the different nations shall have been outlived. To attain this end, what better means than to bring the youth of all countries periodically together for amicable trials of muscular strength and agility.”

Today, in the horrendous match set of crises in global sport and Brazil’s host city, it’s easy to overlook the extraordinary success of the movement that Coubertin launched in 1894. But when the Games open on August 5th, the modern Olympic Movement will have completed a 122-year journey across the border of its fifth continent.  By almost every measure, the Olympic Movement ranks as the most successful international movement of the 20th century.  Its value to our world is far more important than the competition that will soon take place in Rio.  In its symbols and rituals, the Olympic Movement fills our fractious world with hope and shows us—as the nations of our world march into the arena in a full display of human diversity—that the things we have in common are far more powerful than the things that divide us.

And that is an extraordinary tribute to the life and vision of a 5’ 3” Frenchman who should be remembered as a giant of our times.

George Hirthler is the author of The Idealist, a fictionalized biography of Baron Pierre de Coubertin

The Idealist is available for purchase at

www.coubertintheidealist.com 

book pic JPEG

True North is proud to be helping George Hirthler spread the word of this great novel.

Founded by Brian Baker (former USOC senior sports marketing executive) who has extensive experience in sports, entertainment, media and retail.

True North works directly with properties to guide them on a path to fully monetize their audience.

Brian Baker | Managing Partner, Founder

True North Management Group

Atlanta | Georgia

Only Phone:      +1 404 641 1932 (24/7 – Seriously)

Email:        brianbaker@truenorthmgtgroup.com

Website:    www.TrueNorthMgtGroup.com

LinkedIn:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/truenorthmgtgroup

Twitter:      bakertruenorth 

Advertisements

Thomas Bach Contributes Preface for Coubertin Novel

True North      

SPECIAL CLIENT ANNOUNCEMENT from True North Management Group — June 22, 2016

Thomas Bach Contributes Preface for Coubertin Novel

THE IDEALIST, By George Hirthlerbook pic JPEG

 

“In reimagining Coubertin’s life, Hirthler not only pays homage to our founder, but gives us a portrait of a man for whom no sacrifice was too great, no challenge too high, no goal too distant.”

  – From the Preface

 

The Idealist, George Hirthler’s historical novel on the life and times of Baron Pierre de Coubertin—the founder of the modern Olympic Games—continues to garner praise from the leadership of the Olympic Movement.  

IOC President Thomas Bach has contributed the following PREFACE, which is reprinted here as it appears in the novel. 

TBachInto_6_16_16

The Idealist is a vivid portrait of an extraordinary man set against the backdrop of transformation that gave us the splendors of Paris in the luminous years of the Belle Époch. Hirthler’s meticulously researched writing evokes a vivid historical panorama of the birth of the modern Olympic Movement through the eyes of the man who made it happen. 

In the pages of this novel, we are transported to the front rows of history and immersed in the untold story of Coubertin’s unrelenting drive to create our world’s greatest celebration of humanity.

The Idealist is now printed and bound and about to be shipped to those who have ordered advance copies. See below for link to the book’s web site. 

Order your copies today: www.coubertintheidealist.com 

George Hirthler

Author George Hirthler

For more information, please contact me directly:
 
Brian Baker
Managing Partner, Founder
True North Management Group
True North
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
+1 (404) 641-1932
BrianBaker@truenorthmgtgroup.com
 
About Us:
True North is proud to be helping George Hirthler spread the word of this unprecedented Olympic novel.

True North was founded by former USOC sports marketing executive Brian Baker in 2007.  

We focus on helping properties monetize current and strategically created new assets with their viewing audience/consumers, advertisers and sponsors. Client and industry focus on Olympic Movement, Digital Media, Work/Live/Play Retail Development and Entertainment Programs/Events. 
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: