Coubertin’s vision and political skills revived the Olympic Games in 1896, after 1503 years without any Olympic competition. In 1912, he designed the symbol of five interlocking rings bearing the colors red, blue, black, green and yellow on a white background. One or more of the six colors appear on each flag of the countries competing at that time. The rings represent the five regions of the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania, and the Americas. The phrase, “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster, Higher, Stronger) was written by a friend of Coubertin, proposed by Coubertin and became the Olympic motto in 1924.
Coubertin believed the Olympic Games would promote peace, encourage physical and intellectual development, and feature amateur competition instead of professional athletes competing. He believed the competition itself was more important than winning.
"L'important dans la vie ce n'est point le triomphe, mais le combat, l'essentiel ce n'est pas d'avoir vaincu mais de s'être bien battu."
The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
Coubertin’s ideal that participation is more important than winning was not what the Greeks promoted in the ancient Olympic Games. The apostle Paul writes of competing, winning and getting the prize in reference to either the Isthminian or Olympic Games.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
The prize Paul tells us to pursue is one that has value beyond this life; following and obeying the Lord Jesus in all of life.