Why are English and French the Official Olympic Languages?
Because the founder of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and “father” of the modern Olympics was a Frenchman? Baron Pierre de Coubertin?
Because the IOC is based in Lausanne, the French-speaking part of Switzerland?
Because (English speaking) NBC has held the American broadcasting rights to the Summer Olympic Games since the 1988 games? Paying $4.38 billion until 2020? And paying $7.75 billion for the exclusive broadcast rights from 2022 to 2032 (i.e. 6 Olympics)?
Any announcement or proclamation at the Olympic Games are in three languages: English, French, and the host nation. If the host nation speaks French or English, as we witnessed in London 2012, only two languages are used.
Why is that?
Based on the top 12 languages spoken in the world, surely we should be using Chinese or Hindi?
And how does French beat Spanish? 118M vs 389M?
(Source: These seven maps and charts, visualized by The Washington Post)
That’s because the number of eligible countries determines the order of language spoken.
With English spoken in 88 countries worldwide, French with 28 and Spanish with 20, that is the reason English and French are chosen to be the official languages.
It’s that simple.
The moral of the story:
L’important dans la vie ce n’est point le triomphe, mais le combat, l’essentiel ce n’est pas d’avoir vaincu mais de s’être bien battu.
The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.
– Pierre de Coubertin