The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle

The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle

What the Olympics teach us about life

Athletes, coaches, officials, sportscasters, and fans will descend on Paris for the 33rd Olympiad from July 24 to August 11. The distance between it and the 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo (which was delayed a year due to COVID and held without spectators) could not be greater.

Pierre de Courbertin, the father of the modern Olympics, penned 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.”

Coubertin recognized the symmetry between sporting events and the human spirit. This wasn’t a modern discovery, but a reaffirmation of ancient Greek insights, the birthplace of the Olympics. As ancient games expanded beyond competitors who were sons of free-born Greeks to include anyone who spoke Greek, so modern games expanded to include women, people with disabilities (Paralympics), and youth.


Athletes pledge this Olympic Oath:

We promise to take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules and in the spirit of fair play, inclusion and equality. Together we stand in solidarity and commit ourselves to sport without doping, without cheating, without any form of discrimination. We do this for the honor of our teams, in respect for the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, and to make the world a better place through sport.


Respect, abiding by the rules, fair play, inclusion, equality, solidarity, nondiscrimination, and honor are principles whose practice beyond the stadium could make the world a better place.

  • How do we respect those with whom we differ?
  • What does fair play mean at work and home?
  • How am I practicing inclusion, equality, solidarity, and nondiscrimination in my community?
  • What does my life honor?


Rev. Dr. Sybrant serves at Murray Hills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). For more info, visit us at 15050 SW Weir Road, Beaverton. | 503-524-5230