Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 6 (2):183-194 (2012)
The ?values of sport? is a concept that is often used to justify actions and policies by a range of agents and agencies from coaches and teachers to governing bodies and educational institutions. From a philosophical point of view, these values deserve to be analysed with great care to make sure we understand their nature and reach. The aim of this paper is to critically examine the values carried by the educational conception of sport that Pierre de Coubertin developed and to see how they relate to certain values in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. To be able to understand in depth the moral construct of de Coubertin's system, it is essential to delve into the entire system he builds in order to develop athletic participants closer to his ideal of what a human should be. This in turn rests on his conception of Man, which is comprised of body, spirit and character. An understanding of his structure opens the way to a broader awareness of de Coubertin's educational system, of which sport was only part. We will then see that the values are a consequence of this pedagogical search for the ideal human. It is argued that this ideal of a human is similar to the one described by Nietzsche as the Übermensch . A philosophical case study is conducted, taking as its object the story of the first recipient of the Pierre de Coubertin medal, which rewards fair play among Olympic competitors. Judging the story through Nietzschean eyes allows for his thoughts to be put into practice. His lesser-known texts such as Homer and Competition on the emulation of creative powers shed light on today's sports. Concepts such as guilt, excellence, will to power and effectiveness help us compare these two authors and understand that competition is not necessarily about dominating others, but more about generating human excellence
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