This phrase, which became a winged expression, is attributed to Pierre de Coubertin.
Not at all detracting from the merits of the great popularizer of sports and the founder of the modern Olympic movement, I would like to clarify what was first pronounced by their Bishop of Pennsylvania while serving in the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
In his sermon during the solemn mass, he told his parishioners about the incredible courage of the Italian marathoner Dorando Pietri, who showed it during the 1908 Olympic Marathon in London
As the leader of the race, a hundred meters before the finish, he suddenly lost his orientation and ran in the wrong direction.
The judges hardly managed to direct it to the right side, but the forces left the athlete.
In unconsciousness, he ran 20 meters and falls. Physicians run up to him, but the athlete finds the strength to rise.
After several meters, Pietri falls again. But he gets up again! The stadium, with bated breath, watches the athlete, who for 15 meters to the finish again loses his balance.
Two men run up to him, a judge and a journalist who helped to overcome the remaining few meters of the distance.
After a long debate, the judges decide to disqualify Pietri for using outside help.
According to the rules that were in force at that time, the solemn awarding of the winners took place not immediately after the competition as now, but on the day of the closing of the games.
After the solemn rewarding of the marathon runners, a courageous Italian devoid of the award was invited to the royal box, where the wife of King Edward VII Alexander, handed him a cup, an exact copy of that which went to the winner.
Interesting fact. The journalist who rushed to the aid of Dorando Pietri was none other than Arthur Conan Doyle, the literary “father” of Sherlock Holmes.
Material and photos from the site http://www.olympichistory.info/s1908.html