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23 Oct 2006
IOC News

The Values of the Olympic Movement

Zhenliang He, Chairman of the IOC Education and Culture Commission, explains how the Commission is using a combination of traditional and modern ways to introduce millions of Chinese children to the values of the Olympic Movement.
What is the goal of the IOC Education and Culture Commission?
The alliance of sport, culture and education is at the root of the Olympic Movement and has been the driving force of Olympism over the last century. There is no doubt that also in our modern societies sport still has an important educational role to play, on all levels, from schools to grass root sports to elite sport. Sport and education have also expanded into many other areas, such as health, environment and management know-how.
What will be the benefit of the BOCOG education programme for the youth in China?
The impact will be very important. Millions of Chinese children will be introduced to the power and strength of the Olympic values, such as friendship, respect and excellence. They will also learn more about Olympic history. Through Olympic history they will discover other cultures and societies. For me, the Olympic Games in Beijing will have the benefit that different cultures and civilisations will come closer together and learn from each other, without however assimilating each other entirely.
What are the most effective means to attract the younger generations with the Olympic message?
We have to find the right mix between traditional and modern means. The Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement can base their communication on a huge amount of incredible stories that can be tailor-made for well-written and illustrated books, for example school books or comics; for radio programmes or for new media tools such as internet, video games or MP3-players. Television certainly also plays a key factor, particularly the coverage of the Olympic Games and all Games-related cultural activities.
Sport is facing increasing competition from leisure-driven entertainment, what can be done to ensure that sport remains attractive to children and young people?
Sport will always be an important educational tool, appreciated by young people because it is less influenced by our modern society's volatile trends. However we have to adapt and always stress the benefit of sport for individuals as well as for society. Finally it is the personal experience of each one of us, be it as an amateur athlete or a sports fan that makes the difference. For this reason elite athletes have an important role to play as models for young people.
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