Pierre de Coubertin's original Olympics manifesto sold at auction for record US$8m
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Pierre de Coubertin's original Olympics manifesto sold at auction for record US$8m

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The document which set in motion the foundation of the modern Olympic Games has sold for US$8m (€7.2m, £6.1m) at an auction – smashing the record for a piece of sports memorabilia.

The Olympic manifesto, written by International Olympic Committee (IOC) founder Pierre de Coubertin in 1892, outlines detailed plans to revive the ancient Greek Games in a modern format.

De Coubertin’s vision, presented in the document, was that athletic endeavors should no longer exist primarily as military pursuits.

He wanted to draw on the "exceptional educational potential of sport and culture" and strived to promote their virtues in society through the celebration of the Olympic Games.

"(Athletics) opens unexpected prospects to us," de Coubertin wrote in the manifesto.

"There are people whom you call Utopians when they talk to you about the disappearance of war, and you are not altogether wrong; but there are others who believe in the progressive reduction in the chances of war, and I see no Utopia in this.

"It is clear that the telegraph, railways, the telephone, the passionate research in science, congresses and exhibitions have done more for peace than any treaty or diplomatic convention. Well, I hope that athletics will do even more.

"Those who have seen 30,000 people running through the rain to attend a football match will not think that I am exaggerating."

The hand-written, 14-page document led to the formation of the IOC in 1894 and, ultimately, the first modern Games being held in Athens in 1896.

While a high-quality copy of the manifesto was displayed at Copenhagen City Hall during the 2009 Olympic Congress, the original manuscript had never before been exhibited publicly until the auction on 18 December.

The price paid at the Sotheby's auction is significantly higher than the previous record for a piece of shorting history – the US$5.64m paid for a New York Yankees jersey worn by Babe Ruth.

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The document which set in motion the foundation of the modern Olympic Games has sold for US$8m (€7.2m, £6.1m) at an auction – smashing the record for a piece of sports memorabilia.
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