The Olympic Oath



1920 - 1980

Olympic Museum



The Olympic Oath

"In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these

  Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, in the

  true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams." 

Written by Baron de Coubertin, the oath is taken by an athlete from the host 
  nation while holding a corner of the Olympic flag. The athletes' oath was first 
  taken by Belgian fencer Victor Boin at the 1920 Antwerp Games. 

1920 Antwerp

Olympic Oath 1920

Victor Boin


The seventh Olympic Games 
- Baron Pierre de Coubertin:  -

This time, there were two innovations: first, the pledges taken by the athletes, spoken aloud by one of them ( a Belgian holding the flag of his country in the name of all, as follows: 
"We swear that we are taking part in the Olympic Games as loyal competitors, observing the rules governing the Games, and anxious to show a spirit of chivalry, for the honor of our countries and for the glory of their illustrious ancestors by the successive restoration of both the ceremonies and the symbolic acts which gave to the former so great and deep a meaning. 
The second innovation was the appearance of the Olympic flag.......

Source document: Report of the American Olympic Committee, 1920


1924 Paris

Olympic Oath 1924

Geo Andr`Prète


"Nous jurons, dit-il, que nous nous présentons aux Jeux Olympiques en concurrents loyaux, respectueux des règlements qui les régissent et désireux d´y participer dans un esprit chevaleresque pour l`honneur de nos pays et la gloire du sport."

Text from french  Official report 1924,  page 85


1928 Amsterdam

Olympic Oath 1928

Harry Dénis


The Olympic Oath 1928

Mr. H. DENIS, of the Dutch Olympic team came forward and pronounced the words of the Olympic oath, as given below, surrounded by the flags of the other nations; the contestants demonstrating their approval and assent by raising the right hand:

"Nous jurons que nous nous présentons aux Jeux Olympiques en concurrents loyaux, respectueux des règlements qui les régissent et désireux d'y participer dans un esprit chevaleresque pour I'honneur de nos pays et la gloire du sport."

Source document:  Official Report 1928, page 307


1932 Los Angeles

Olympic Oath 1932

George C. Calnan, a member of the team of the United States,  
pronounces the Olympic oath


The Olympic Oath 1932

The voice of the announcer sounds again. It is introducing Lieutenant George C. Calnan, of the United States Olympic Team, who will take the Olympic Oath.

A tall figure, erect and military, ascends the rostrum on the field as a hushspreads over the audience. He grasps the American flag with his left hand andraises his right to the sky. 
All over the field the athletes raise their right hands.Then, in a loud clear voice, come Lieutenant Calnanís words : 
"We swear that we will take part in the Olympic Games in loyal competition, respecting the regulations which govern them and desirous of participating in them in the true spirit of sportsmanship for the honor of our country and for the glory of sport."

Source document: Official Report 1932, page 362


1936 Berlin

Olympic Oath 1936

Rudolf Ismayr


The Olympic Oath 1936

Still a second greeting was brought from the classical homeland of the Olympic Games to Berlin. The first Marathon victor, Louis, mounted the steps to the loge of honour accompanied by the President of the Organizing Committee and the President of the Greek Olympic Committee, Bolanachi, and presented the German Chancellor with an olive twig from Olympia which he received with words of deep gratitude.

Then at a signal from the commander of the procession, the flag-bearers of the different nations approached the speaker's platform with their banners and formed a semi-circle around it. Accompanying the German flag-bearer was a German Olympic victor from 1932, Rudolf Ismayr, who, as representative of the youth of the world, mounted the platform. The flags were dipped, and while all of the participants raised their right hand, Ismayr took the Olympic oath on their behalf: 
"Wir schwören, bei den Olympischen Spielen ehrenhafte Kämpfer zu sein und die Regeln der Spiele zu achten. Wir nehmen teil in ritterlichem Geist, zu Ehre unseres Landes und zum Ruhme des Sports".

Source document:  Official Report 1936, vol I,  page 564


1948 London

Olympic Oath 1948

Flags of the competing nations are dipped in salute as Donald Finlay, in the 
Tribune of Honour, takes the oath on behalf of all the competitors.


The Olympic Oath 1948

At the end of the Archbishop's speech, the International Olympic Committee and the Organising Committee returned to their seats and the Choir sang the Hallelujah Chorus accompanied by the Massed Bands. While this was in progress, the standard bearers of all the nations formed a semi-circle round the Tribune of Honour and the Flag Bearer of Great Britain, Mr. J. Emrys Lloyd, and Wing Commander Donald Finlay, took up their positions on the left of the Tribune of Honour. At the conclusion of the Hallelujah Chorus, Wing Commander Finlay, Captain of the British Team and competitor in three Olympiads, mounted the Tribune of Honour facing the Royal Box, and holding the flag in his left hand, in a clear voice took the Olympic Oath on behalf of the assembled athletes :

" We swear that we will take part in the Olympic Games in loyal competition, respecting the regulations which govern them, and desirous of participating in them in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the honour of our country and for the glory of sport"

To end the formal ceremony, one verse of the National Anthem was played by the Massed Bands and sung by the choir, joined by all those assembled in the Stadium.

Source document:  Official Report 1948, page 224


1952 Helsinki

Olympic Oath 1952

Heikki Savolainen reads out the Olympic Oath


The Olympic Oath 1952

was taken by the gymnast Dr. Heikki Savolainen, for whom these were his fifth Games. The reciting of the oath was followed by the Finnish National Anthem, in which the public joined with unusual fervour. The flag bearers returned to their positions in front of the teams and the march out of the Stadium proceeded briskly through two gates at once.

The Oath: 
»We swear that we will take part in the Olympic Games in fair competition, respecting the regulations which govern them and with the desire to participate in the true spirit of sportmanship for the honour of our country and for the glory of sport.»

Source document:  Official Report 1952, page 240 


1956 Melbourne

Olympic Oath 1956

John Landy


The oath was taken by the captain of the Athletic Section of the Australian team, John Landy, the world mile record holder.

Source document:  Official Report 1956, page 236


1956 Stockholm Equestrian Games

Olympic Oath 1956 equestrian

Henri St. Cyr


H. St. Cyr, Olympic Gold Medal winner at Helsinki in 1952, has been entrusted with the task of honour to take the Olympic Oath:

"We swear that we will take part in these Olympic Games in the true spirit of sportsmanship and that we will respect and abide by the rules which govern them, for the glory of sport and the honour of our country."

The Olympic Oath having been taken, the Swedish national anthem, "Du gamla, du fria", is sung in unison.

Source document:   Official Report 1956   Stockholm, page 71


1960 Rome

Olympic Oath 1960

Adolfo Consolini

The Oath-taking by the Athletes 1960

Immediately after, the Italian athlete, Consolini, came out of the ranks, mounted the podium and, grasping the Italian flag with his left hand, pronounced the formula of the Olympic oath: 

" In the name of all the competitors, I swear that we will take part in these Olympic Games in loyal competition, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and honour of our Country ".

The Choir of Santa Cecilia, accompanied by the Band of the Carabinieri, then sang the National Anthem.

Source document:  Official Report 1960, Volume II, page  16 

1964 Tokyo

Olympic Oath 1964 
Takashi Ono


The Olympic Oath 1964

The flag bearers of the participating countries formed a semi-circle around the rostrum. Japanese gymnastic star Takashi Ono representing the participating athletes, delivered the Olympic oath holding a corner of the Japanese flag in his left hand and with his right hand raised high. 8,000 pigeons were released, and as they disappeared from the Stadium, the whole assembly joined in the singing of the Japanese National Anthem. Five jet planes of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force described five gigantic rings of colour-the Olympic emblem-in the sky. While the electronic music was played, Their Majesties the Emperor and the Empress left the Stadium. The delegations marched out through the north and south exits, and the Ceremony was brought to a close. 

Source document:  Official Report 1964, Volume I, page  222





1968 Mexico City

Olympic Oath 1968

Pablo Garrido

The Olympic Oath 1968

Immediately afterward, the Olympic pledge of sportsmanship was given by another Mexican athlete, Pablo Garrido, in the name of all the assembled competitors. As he concluded; ten thousand pigeons were released from cages around the stadium. A symbol of universal peace, they fluttered up and away in great widening circles. The huge electronic scoreboard lit up with the words "We offer and desire friendship with all the peoples of the world," and the band closed the day with a stirring rendition of the Mexican National Anthem. The athletes marched out. The hundred thousand spectators-who had been cheering and applauding for the past two hours-slowly followed.

Source document:  Official Report 1968, Volume III, page  20



1972 Munich

Olympic Oath 1972

Heidi Schüller

The Olympic Oath 1972

Immediately before the Olympic Games the OC chose the individuals who were to perform the essential functions: To carry the Olympic flag - the eight rowers from the Federal Republic of Germany who won the gold medal in Mexico 
City. 
The last torch bearer - a young, unknown runner as a representative of future generations - Günther Zahn, winner of the 1,500 meter race of the German Youth Athletics championship of 1972. His stand-in was Rudolf Brumund, second winner of the 400-meter race. To speak the oath, for the first time at Olympic Games an active lady participant- Heidi Schüller. 

Source document:  Official Report 1972, Volume I, page  82



1976  Montreal

Olympic Oath 1976

Pierre Saint-Jean


The Olympic Oath 1976

To the sounds of this joyous, heady music, the magic of the ballet weaves its hypnotic effect around the athletes. On the final chords which express the homage of Canadian youth, the students and gymnasts take up positions in the semicircles at the ends of the central lawn, while the crowd applauds. The flag-bearers of the ninety-four delegations form a semicircle behind the rostrum. Then the Canadian team's flag-bearer, and one of its athletes, and a judge mount the rostrum. Weightlifter Pierre Saint-Jean, bare-headed, facing the Queen, and holding a corner of the Canadian flag in his left hand, raises his right hand and takes the following oath in French and English: 
"In the name of all competitors I promise that we will take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."

The athlete steps back, and the judge, Maurice Forget, in turn takes the oath of the judges and officials: 
"In the name of all judges and officials, I promise that we will officiate in these Olympic Games with complete impartiality, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship. "

The Olympic chorus and orchestra perform the national anthem, O Canada. 

Source document:  Official Report 1976, Volume I, page 303



1980 Moscow

Olympic Oath 1980

Nikolai Andrianov


The Olympic Oath 1980

Olympic gold medallist Nikolai Andrianov took the Olympic oath on behalf of all the participants in the Games. He was followed at the microphone by international referee Alexander Medved, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, who pledged, on behalf of the referees, to carry out his duties impartially, in conformity with the rules and in the spirit of true sportsmanship. The official part of the Opening Ceremony ended with the Anthem of the Soviet Union. The delegations left the field, and the artistic and sports programme began. 

Source document:  Official Report 1980, Volume I, page 294



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