Preserving the Olympic Spirit

(ATR) France and Greece aim to elevate recognition of Olympic Spirit by UNESCO.

(ATR) France has enlisted the help of Greece in a bid to inscribe the Olympic Spirit on the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage List.

The quest started in 2018 with the aim to include Olympic Spirit on the Intangible Heritage List of many countries in 2020. Following that deadline an application could be submitted to UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization in 2021.

A French delegation met with Greek officials at the Hellenic Olympic Committee this week to push the recognition forward.

Guy Drut, the special Envoy for the IOC to UNESCO, stressed that France, which created the initiative, asked for aid from Greece.

"Greece could not but be connected with this procedure, we all understand that," said Drut, an IOC member and the 1976 Olympic gold medalist in the 110-meter hurdles.

"It is a difficult endeavor, in the framework of the Olympic Games that will be held in 2024 in Paris and we were warmly accepted by the UNESCO, when we began the procedure. In order to make this happen, at an international level, the Olympic Spirit must be inscribed on the Cultural Heritage List of every country, Greece, Luxembourg, or any other country," said Drut.

There are currently 429 elements on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which began in 2008. There are also lists of elements in need of urgent safeguarding and a register of good safeguarding practices with all three lists corresponding to 122 countries.

The new elements for 2018 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity included bobbin lace-making in Slovenia, Chakan embroidery art in Tajikistan, hurling in Ireland and Khon masked dance drama in Thailand.

Drut was joined in the French delegation by Phillipe Vinogradoff, French Ambassador for Sport, and Johann Pellicot from the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee.

HOC President Spyros Capralos, Secretary General Manolis Kolympadis and Yiannis Drinis and Elena Bazini of the Ministry of Culture represented the Greek side.

"We are very pleased that France has taken this initiative and will shall also try to support it as the Olympic Games were born in Greece and any concept connected with them is also intertwined with our country," Capralos said.

"I am sure that the cooperation of the two countries will be excellent and I hope for a positive result, which will contribute decisively to the protection of the Olympic Spirit."

Reported by Karen Rosen.