What’s the Olympic Truce again?
In Ancient Greece, where the Olympics first started, no wars or fighting were allowed during the time of the Games. This meant that athletes and spectators could travel to the Games safely across the whole of Greece. Today, this ‘Olympic Truce’ is still alive. Its motto is ‘Sport inspired by peace - peace inspired by sport’.
What work does it do?
Since the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, every Summer and Winter Olympics has asked the world to support the truce and there is now an organisation called the International Olympic Truce Foundation. Not all wars stop of course, but because the Olympics were actually created to stop fighting and conflict, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United Nations (UN) want to continue the tradition.
What successes have there been?
During the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer in Norway, the Olympic Truce helped athletes from the former Yugoslavia take part in the Games. There was a terrible civil war in their country but some of the fighting stopped during the Olympic Truce. In 1998, at the same time as the Winter Games in Japan, the Olympic Truce helped to find a solution to the war in Iraq. It gave all sides the chance to talk to each other and to help find an end to the conflict.
At the London 2012 Games this year, the Olympic Truce will be declared once more. In fact, it is getting more famous. This year, a British politician called Michael Bates has walked over 3000 miles from Greece to London so that more people know about the Olympic Truce. ‘If they could do it 3000 years ago, then surely we can do it now,’ he said.