Olympic Truce history

Olympic Truce

The tradition of the Olympic Truce dates back to the 9th century BC, in Ancient Greece. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to revive this ancient concept in order to protect the interests of the athletes and sport in general.

The idea

The tradition of the truce or "Ekecheiria" was established in Ancient Greece in the 9th century BC by the signature of a treaty between three kings. 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. As the opening of the Games approached, the sacred truce was proclaimed and announced by citizens of Elis who travelled throughout Greece to pass on the message.

Its relevance today

Taking into account the global context in which sport and the Olympic Games exist, the IOC decided to revive the ancient concept of the Olympic Truce with a view to protecting, as far as possible, the interests of the athletes and sport in general, and to encourage the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts around the world.

Through this global and symbolic concept, the IOC aims to :

  • mobilise young people for the promotion of the Olympic ideals;
  • use sport to establish contacts between communities in conflict;
  • offer humanitarian support in countries at war ; and more generally :
  • create a window of opportunity for dialogue and reconciliation.

The IOC undertakings for the Olympic Truce extend beyond the period of the Olympic Games and have led to the implementation of a series of "sport for peace" activities through the National Olympic Committees.

“The Olympic Games show the world how to compete peacefully. They show us that, despite all our differences, it is possible for humankind to live together in peace, respect and harmony.”
Thomas Bach, IOC President and Olympic champion 

The symbol

The Olympic Truce is symbolised by the dove of peace with the traditional Olympic flame in the background. In a world that is plagued by wars and animosity, the peace-dove symbol represents one of the IOC's ideals to build a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal. The Olympic flame has brought warm friendship to all the people of the world through sharing and global togetherness. In the symbol, the flame is made up of colourful effervescent elements - reminiscent of festivities experienced in the celebration of the human spirit. These elements represent people of all races coming together for the observance of the Truce.

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