From the Ancient Olympic Games to the birth of the modern games, art and sport were once united Olympic initiatives. In ancient Greece, competitors were expected to be role models who embodied excellence in mind, and spirit. An athlete was not only expected to possess great agility and strength, but also to understand and nurture the arts. By training the body in sport and the mind in art, literature, poetry, and music, the ancient Olympic Games were the inspiration that produced more responsible and enriched citizens.
A foundation of values that inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin, often referred to as the father of the modern Olympics and founder of the International Olympic Committee, hoped to instill in cultures once again with the birth of the modern Games in 1894. The connectivity between art and sport was cemented early on as art competitions were held alongside the Olympic Sports Competitions from 1912 ‐ 1948. Medals were awarded in five categories architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture for works inspired by sport‐related themes; this was eventually replaced by cultural celebrations.
Today, Art of the Olympians celebrates the relationship between art and sports while helping individuals discover their passions! The Olympic Sports Gallery features Olympic equipment, uniforms and memorabilia to connect visitors with the history of the competitions and the journey of individual athletes.