We’re lucky to have some truly fascinating and valuable documents in our collections, including the original sheet music of the Olympic Anthem. This beautiful and well-preserved booklet dates back to the first modern Olympics, held in Athens in 1896.
ABOUT THE OLYMPIC ANTHEM
Spyros Samaras, an internationally famous composer, composed the ‘Olympic Hymn’, based on lyrics written by Greek poet Costis Palamas. The now iconic hymn was played at the opening ceremony at Athens 1896 – but was then forgotten in favour of other hymns at later Games. It wasn’t until the 55th IOC Session, held in Tokyo in 1958, that members decided to adopt it as the official Olympic Anthem. It was played at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960, and has been played at every Olympic Games ever since.
IF YOU LIKE THAT…
You’ll love the miniature book containing the lyrics of the Olympic anthem in German, English, Finnish, French, Italian, Russian and Swedish. This fascinating book measures just a quarter of an inch square, and is finished in black leather with gilt borders. It is one of four books that publisher Waldman and Pfitzner calls ‘the smallest book in the world’. It’s set on a bed of red velvet in a plexiglass case with a built-in magnifying glass.
Want to see these and other treasures from our collections?
Let us know – we’d be delighted to show them to you on your next visit to the OSC.