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Get ready to watch the Opening Ceremony: Olympic oath

Sarah Stevenson takes Olympic oath during London Opening Ceremony
NBCUniversal/Paul Drinkwater

Get ready to watch the Opening Ceremony: Olympic oath

"In the name of all the competitors" one athlete must take the Olympic Oath during the Opening Ceremony.

The Olympic Oath


"In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."


Typically near the end of the Opening Ceremony, a single athlete from the host nation will stand and take the Olympic oath for all athletes to follow the rules and compete with honor over the course of the Olympic Games. The first Olympic oath was written by Pierre de Coubertin, the French aristocrat who founded the International Olympic Committee. Belgian fencer Victor Boin was the first to take Coubertin's oat during the Opening Ceremony of the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, as he grasped the Belgium flag.  

Victor Boin takes first Olympic oath

Belgian fencer Victor Boin holds the Belgium flag as he takes the first Olympic oath at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Credit: (C) 1920 / Comite International Olympique (CIO)


Today, the modern oath is said while the athlete holds on to the Olympic flag, unlike the ancient Olympic oath, which is said to have been conducted by having athletes gruesomely swear on the remains of a sacrificial animal.

Undergoing several revisions over the years, the current form of the Olympic oath was approved in 1999, and first recited in 2000.

Oaths were added for judges and officials in 1972, and in 2012, coaches took an Olympic oath for the first time.

Get ready to watch the Opening Ceremony

Click the options below for more details:

Olympic flame | Final torch bearer | Parade of nations

Athlete uniforms | Artistic program | Olympic flag and anthem

Olympic oath | Heads of state | Release of doves


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