The Olympic Oath (distinct from the Olympic creed) is a solemn promise made by one athlete—as a representative of each of the participating Olympic competitors; and by one judge—as a representative of each officiating Olympic referee or other official, at the opening ceremonies of each Olympic Games. It was spoken in Chinese at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and in Italian at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.
The athlete, from the team of the organizing country, holds a corner of the Olympic Flag while reciting the oath :
- In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.
The judge, also from the host nation, likewise holds a corner of the flag but takes a slightly different oath:
- In the name of all the judges and officials, I promise that we shall officiate in these Olympic Games with complete impartiality, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them in the true spirit of sportsmanship.
Since the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, an additional oath is taken by a coach from the host country:
- In the name of all the coaches and other members of the athletes' entourage, I promise that we shall commit ourselves to ensuring that the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play is fully adhered to and upheld in accordance with the fundamental principles of Olympism.
A call for an oath was announced as early as 1906 by International Olympic Committee (IOC) president and founder Pierre de Coubertin in the Revue Olympique (Olympic Review in French). This was done in an effort to ensure fairness impartiality.
The Olympic Oath was first taken at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp by the fencer/water polo player Victor Boin. The first judge's oath was taken at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo by Fumio Asaki.
Victor Boin's oath in 1920 was
- We swear. We will take part in the Olympic Games in a spirit of chivalry, for the honour of our country and for the glory of sport.
In 1961, "swear" was replaced by "promise" and "the honour of our countries" by "the honour of our teams" in an obvious effort to eliminate nationalism at the Olympic Games. The part concerning doping was added at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
The athletes, judges and coaches that have delivered the Olympic Oath are listed below.
- "Wendl, Karel. "The Olympic Oath - A Brief History" ''Citius, Altius, Fortius'' (''Journal of Olympic History'' since 1997). Winter 1995. pp. 4,5." (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-24.
- "Factsheet: Opening Ceremony of the Games of the Olympiad" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. June 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-28.
- "FACTSHEET OPENING CEREMONY OF THE GAMES OF THE OLYMPIAD". Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- "Star Paddler Zhang Yining Takes Athletes' Oath". 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- "Referee Huang Liping takes oath at opening ceremony". Xinhua News Agency. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- "Factsheet: Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. June 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
- "Dazzling opening ceremony launches 30th Olympic Games". The Times of India. 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
- "News". Retrieved 4 March 2014.