"Olympism is a doctrine of the fraternity between the body and the soul."
-Baron Pierre de Coubertin

Olympic Truce

"I am convinced that in this observance, and by working with the International Olympic Committee to promote the Olympic Ideal, we will draw the worlds attention to what humanity can achieve in the name of international understanding."

Kofi A. Annan,
United Nations Secretary General
February 1998

Established in ancient Greece in the 9th century BC, the Olympic Truce was a treaty signed by three kings that allowed for the safety of athletes, artists and their families attending and participating in the ancient Olympic Games. At the opening of the first known Olympic Games the truce was read and stated, "May the world be delivered from crime and killing and freed from the clash of arms." The Greek word for truce, ekecheiria, literally means "holding of hands." Two months before each Olympics the Hellanodikai, the organizer of the Games, would declare this holy cease-fire between all Greek cities. In fact, Olympia was the only Greek city that never built walls to defend itself. Moreover, legal disputes were forbidden and no prisoners were allowed to be executed at the time.

This same idea is relevant today, as host cities are required to produce a written agreement from the federal government stating that athletes of all recognized countries will be assured freedom and complete admittance into the country.

In 1992 the first steps were taken for making a connection between the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations. Every two years the United Nations adopts a resolution entitled, "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal." Kofi Anna, the Secretary General of the United Nations has been instrumental in helping to strengthen the connection. When the International Olympic Committee (IOC) called for a revival of the Olympic Truce at the Summer Olympics of 2000 in Sydney, Australia, Kofi Anna said, "I join the United Nations General Assembly in urging all those at war to observe the Olympic Truce. This may sound unrealistic. But as any athlete will tell you, nothing happens without a dream."