Coubertinian Rhetoric: the Olympic Manifesto, a text with a modern edge


  • Carine DUTEIL Université de Limoges, CeReS


The Olympic Manifesto, Olympic ideal, Ethos, Olympic Movement, Coubertin, Rhetorical strategies


Our article focuses on the work of Pierre de Coubertin, and in particular the Olympic Manifesto of 1892, with the aim of identifying and analyzing rhetorical strategies at the service of the Olympic ideal. We show how, thematically, the Baron’s texts are highly topical: humanist vision of sport, balance of body and mind, taste for effort, excellence...

Style serves the purpose. The terms are exact, the discourse clear. All these elements guarantee the credibility of the program. Baron de Coubertin uses images and comparisons to illustrate his point forcefully. He also uses analogies, to better represent what he’s describing.

Thematically, Coubertin contrasts physical activity, which keeps bodies virile and muscular, with the softening to which passivity and idleness lead.

The Baron’s contrast between intellectual training and physical education is also evident. Coubertin would refine this contrast by emphasizing the role of sport in shaping men’s minds and character. It’s a question of complementarity between body and mind, not dichotomy. In this connection, the Baron develops the concept of  “eurythmie”, which in his writings takes on a very special meaning, that of a balance between two extremes.






Olympic Games Insights