Taken for the first time at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp by Victor Boin, a Belgian fencer, the Olympic oath is one of the protocol elements of the Opening Ceremony. It is taken by an athlete from the host county, on behalf of all the athletes.
This oath is similar to the one sworn by Olympic athletes in ancient times – the only difference being that today’s athletes take the oath with the Olympic flag and not the innards of a sacrificed animal.
Since 1972, a judge has sworn an oath alongside the athlete at the Games opening ceremony; and since 2012, so too has a coach.
The first Olympic oath at the Games of the modern era was written by Pierre de Coubertin. It has been modified over time to reflect the changing nature of sports competitions.
In 2000, in Sydney, for the first time, the oath explicitly included a reference to doping. Since the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the athletes’, officials’ and coaches’ oaths have been merged into one to save time during the ceremony.
At the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the number of oath-takers will be extended from three to six – two athletes, two coaches and two judges. Each representative says their own part: “In the name of the athletes”, “In the name of all judges” or “In the name of all the coaches and officials”. Then the athlete recites on behalf of all three categories: “… we promise to take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules and in the spirit of fair play, inclusion and equality. Together we stand in solidarity and commit ourselves to sport without doping, without cheating, without any form of discrimination. We do this for the honour of our teams, in respect for the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, and to make the world a better place through sport.”
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