Most people who follow sport, and even many who don’t will be aware that the motto of the modern Olympic Games is “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” which is Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”
The father of the modern Olympic Games Baron Pierre de Coubertin is said to have borrowed the phrase from his friend Henri Didon, a Dominican priest who was an athletics enthusiast and the motto was introduced at the 1924 Paris Games. Coubertin is quoted as saying that “These three words represent a programme of moral beauty. The aesthetics of sport are intangible.”
The new head of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach may however be taking them a little more literally. Just last week he stated that he wanted the IOC to consider exciting and spectacular new sports, and both Formula One and air racing -similar to the Red Bull Air Race – could be on the table.
Cynics believe that there may well be marketing dollars behind such a push with the Austrian energy drink manufacturer being a dominate player in both sports.
In 2012 in the lead up to the London Games the IOC was heavily criticised for the platform it gave fast food sponsors McDonalds and Coca Cola, when corporate sponsorship incredibly only made up 10% of total funding for the Games; fast food sponsors contributed only 2 percent.
Coca Cola dominated the venues as the preferred soft drink and was believed to have sold in the region of 23million soft drinks. Maybe Red Bull is after a slice of that market, maybe the IOC do not see the energy drink as being a target for health campaigners. Yet they should remember that Coca Cola has been a loyal supporter of the Games having been a sponsor since way back in 1928.
On a more practical note are the Olympic Games really the place for F1 or an Air Race? With the skies around the venues being closely monitored in recent times to ensure no unwanted extremists become a threat to the various packed venues below; the air race would have to be held a long way from the host city. As for the F1 idea, the roads and public transport systems are put under enough pressure without having to close more roads for the race itself of those trying to get to the track.
Maybe Mr Bach should adopt the following as his own personal motto before he starts trying to take the Olympic one so literally, fortes fortuna adiuvat – Fortune favours the bold.