On 20 July 2021, the Session of the International Olympic Committee approved a change in the Olympic motto that recognises the unifying power of sport and the importance of solidarity.
The change adds the word “together” after an en dash to “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. The new Olympic motto now reads: “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”.
In his remarks before the unanimously vote, IOC President Bach explained the link between the change and the original motto: “Solidarity fuels our mission to make the world a better place through sport. We can only go faster, we can only aim higher, we can only become stronger by standing together — in solidarity.”
The motto in Latin is “Citius, Altius, Fortius – Communiter” and in French: “Plus vite, Plus haut, Plus fort – Ensemble”.
The importance of unity and solidarity is also reflected in the IOC’s global campaign, entitled “Stronger Together”. The creative campaign celebrates athletes by showcasing their journey to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and how they have kept moving even when the world around them stopped. It emphasises the IOC’s message of solidarity and the belief that the world moves forward only when it moves together, and the irresistible power of the Olympic Games to unite people, communities and societies across the globe.
The original Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius" was adopted with the launch of the Olympic Movement in 1894 at the urging of founder Pierre de Coubertin, who wanted a slogan that expressed excellence in sport. These three words were meant to encourage athletes to give their best during competition. Pierre de Coubertin proposed the motto, having borrowed it from his friend Henri Didon, a Dominican priest who taught sport close to Paris.
The motto can be compared to the Olympic creed which says: “The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.” The inspiration for the creed would come later, following a sermon given by the Bishop of Pennsylvania, Ethelbert Talbot, during the Games of London in 1908.
Together, the Olympic motto and creed embody an ideal that Coubertin believed in: that giving one’s best and striving for personal excellence were worthwhile goals. And where better to do this than through the pursuit of sport and participation at the Olympic Games? This is an important life lesson that is still equally valid today, not just for athletes but for everyone.