Olympism and the Olympic Movement

  • What is Olympism?
    • Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

      The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.


      Learn more:



  • What is the Olympic Charter?
    • The Olympic Charter (OC) is the codification of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, Rules and byelaws adopted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It governs the organisation, action and operation of the Olympic Movement and sets forth the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games.

      The Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter are based on a document written by Pierre de Coubertin in around 1898. The first edition was published in 1908 under the title of Annuaire du Comité International Olympique. The Olympic Charter was later known by other names, including “Olympic Rules”, before finally taking the name Olympic Charter in 1978.


      Learn more:

  • What is the Olympic Movement?
    • The Olympic Movement is composed of three main constituents: the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Sports Federations (IFs) and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

      In addition to these three constituents the Olympic Movement is made up of all the organisations which recognise the IOC’s authority: the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), the athletes, judges and referees, associations and clubs, as well as all the IOC-recognised organisations and institutions.

      As is clearly defined in the Olympic Charter, “The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised in accordance with Olympism and its values.” (Olympic Charter, Chapter 1, Rule 1.1).


      Learn more:

  • What is a National Olympic Committee (NOC)?
    • National Olympic Committees are one of the three constituents of the Olympic Movement, alongside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Sports Federations.

      Their role is to ensure the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games by sending competitors and officials as well as to promote the fundamental principles and values of Olympism in their countries, in particular in the fields of sport and education.

      They may also nominate interested hosts as candidates for future Olympic Games.

      There are currently 206 NOCs.


      Learn more:

  • What is the role of the International Sports Federations (IFs)?
  • What is the Olympic Truce?
    • The “Olympic Truce” or “Ekecheiria” is a tradition that was established in Ancient Greece in the 9th century B.C. by the signature of a treaty between three kings. Subsequently, all the other Greek cities ratified this “international agreement”, thanks to which permanent, recognised immunity of the sanctuary of Olympia and the region of Elis became a reality. During the Truce period, the athletes, artists and their families, as well as ordinary pilgrims, could travel in total safety to participate in or attend the Olympic Games and return afterwards to their respective countries.

      In 1991, the IOC decided to revive the concept of the Olympic Truce on the occasion of the Olympic Games, with a view to protecting, as far as possible, the interests of the athletes and sport in general, and to contribute to the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the world’s conflicts. 

      Since 1993, the United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly expressed its support for the IOC by unanimously adopting, every two years, a year before each edition of the Olympic Games, a resolution entitled "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal". Through this (symbolic) resolution, the UN invites its member States to observe the Olympic Truce individually or collectively, and to seek, in conformity with the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter, the peaceful settling of all international conflicts through peaceful and diplomatic means, recognising the importance of the IOC’s initiatives for human well-being and international understanding.

      Learn more:

  • What is the Olympic Family?
    • The Olympic Family regroups diverse groups of leaders from the Olympic Movement, including the IOC President and IOC Members, International Federations and National Olympic Committees Presidents and Secretaries General, Chairs and CEOs of TOP Partners, future OCOG senior executives, RHB senior executives and others. 

Olympic documents
Visit the Olympics.com documents repository to find a list of all documents published on this website. This section contains the major reports, studies, publications and information regarding the Olympic Movement.
View documents
The Olympic Studies Centre
The IOC Olympic Studies Centre is the world source of reference for Olympic knowledge. As an integral part of the IOC, we are uniquely placed to provide the most accurate, relevant and up-to-date information on Olympism.
Learn more