Exclusive: De Coubertin would love the Youth Olympics, says relative

Monday, 30 January 2012
By Mike Rowbottom

de NavacelleJanuary 30 - A descendant of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Modern Olympics, believes that his illustrious relation would approve highly of the current International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Jacques Rogge, and his innovation of Summer and Winter Youth Olympics.

"One of the most important things to have happened during Dr Rogge's Presidency of the IOC is the creation of the Youth Olympics," Antoine de Navacelle, De Coubertin's great nephew, exclusively told insidethegames.

"I would say that is probably his finest achievement as President, and I think my great uncle would have liked the Youth Olympics very much.

"He would be very pleased to see them.

"It comes back to the work he did in creating the modern Games as a form of education for young people.

"It is exactly what needs to be done for sport.

"And I know Dr Rogge will certainly not let them become like a big circus."

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In assessing the relative merits of Rogge, for whom the London 2012 Games will be the last Summer Olympics of his Presidency, and his predecessor Juan Antonio Samaranch, De Navacelle – currently helping launch the third annual Coubertin Awards student essay competition – commented: "I think Dr Rogge has been a lower profile President than Mr Samaranch, more behind the scenes.

"He has been more down to earth, with a less prominent role than the last President.

"The IOC faces many difficult issues.

"It is pushed left and right by so many people that want to have influence, and running it is a very difficult task.

"But Dr Rogge has done a good job there.

"I like him.

"He's a good man.

"He and his chief executive act quickly if something is not right."

As UK representative for the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee (CIPC) in Lausanne, De Navacelle – a senior international banker who retired last year after working in Paris and London – is inviting students to submit essays for the 2012 Competition, which is jointly organised by the CIPC and the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE).

"We are excited to once again invite students to put forward their thoughts, arguments and recommendations on how values and ethics in sport can be relevant for modern business," De Navacelle said.

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"That this year's competition falls in an Olympic year, with London set to host a fantastic Games in 2012, makes this year's Coubertin Awards particularly special.

"In times of economic difficulty and rising tuition fees we're delighted to be able to offer students the chance to be rewarded for playing a part in promoting the Olympic values."

The awards, which aim to promote the application of Olympic ideals to the world of business, are sponsored by EDF Energy, who are providing support in organising the competition, together with fellow London 2012 Official Partner BP, and Eurostar, an Official London 2012 Provider.

Gareth Wynn, director of the London 2012 programme at awards sponsor EDF Energy, added: "We're are very proud to be once again supporting the Coubertin Awards in the UK, encouraging talented future professionals to bring to life the way that they see business and sport informing one another.

"In a very competitive graduate job market, being involved in the competition would be a great addition to any CV so we're hoping for another field of strong submissions for this year's awards.

"As an official partner of London 2012 we have seen first-hand the positive impact that embracing Olympic values can have for a business."

Entries are to be submitted from teams of two to four students from UK universities and dedicated business schools at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

Essays must aim to identify, research, and recommend solutions to issues relating to ethics, business and sport, and be no longer than 3,500 words.

The deadline for entries is March 30.

Submissions will be judged by a panel of academics, sportsmen and business executives and a grand prize of £2,000 (€2,399/$3,090) will be shared amongst the winning team.

The team in second place will be awarded £1,000 (€1,199/$1,545).

The full text of the exclusive insidethegames interview with De Navacelle can be read here.

Further information on the 2012 Coubertin Awards student essay competition, sponsored by London 2012 official partner EDF, is available by clicking here.

Contact the writer of this story at mike.rowbottom@insidethegames.biz
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