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The Olympic Spirit

not to win but to take part

The Olympic spirit is best expressed in the Olympic Creed:

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

The Olympic Games give us the chance to celebrate our shared humanity, and the object of the competitors should be to express this humanity by performing fairly and honestly to the best of their natural ability. The Olympic spirit can be seen in all those who compete in the Games, not just in those who win the medals. This spirit can be seen in athletes from poorer parts of the world, who have little chance to develop their skills or gain experience, but who do the best they can with limited resources, and who represent their country with pride and dignity. In the spirit of the Olympics, the most important thing is to have taken part fairly, and to have done one's best. This is what the Olympic Games are really about, and some might say it's what life is really about as well. What do you think?

word example sentence meaning
celebrate The Olympic Games give us the chance to celebrate our shared humanity. to mark a special occasion, or to praise or highlight something special, with festive events
conquer Athletes say they have to conquer their fears and doubts in order to perform at their best. to defeat or achieve victory over someone or something
creed The Olympic Creed always appears on the scoreboard during the Opening Ceremony. a set of basic beliefs and principles
dignity Even though she wasn't the winner of her event, she did her best and performed with dignity. a sense of pride and self-respect
essential One of the essential qualities of a great athlete is belief in his or her own ability. of the greatest importance; absolutely necessary
fairly It's essential that athletes perform fairly, referees rule fairly, and judges score fairly. (to do something) with honesty; without cheating or bias
humanity What do you think people mean when they talk about our 'shared humanity' or the 'human spirit'? the fact or condition of being human; positive qualities we share, such as benevolence
object The object of athletes should be to perform to the best of their ability. the thing you want to get or achieve; what you aim to do
perform Most athletes perform better in front of a crowd, possibly because of adrenalin. to carry out an activity for which one has trained, such as a sport
spirit The Olympic spirit is shown when spectators applaud all the competitors, not just the winners. a special attitude or feeling associated with something
struggle Every athlete has to struggle against difficulties such as injuries and defeats. to try hard, esp. when faced with difficulties or challenges
take part Over 10,000 athletes will take part in the next Olympic Games. to join in (an activity); participate
Contributor: Matt Errey. Matt is the author of several books including 1000 Phrasal Verbs in Context and Common English Idioms for learners, and Matt's ESL Games and Quizzes for teachers.