What Is the Cultural Olympiad? Inside Paris 2024’s Grand Celebration Of Art And Sport

Enjoy concerts, exhibitions, performances, and workshops.

by Mallika Khurana
What Is the Cultural Olympiad? Inside Paris 2024’s Grand Celebration Of Art And Sport

Imagine the vibrant pulse of a city where the grace of a ballet dancer meets the agility of a gymnast, where the rhythm of a jazz ensemble syncs with the swift movements of a sprinter. This is the enchanting vision behind the Cultural Olympiad, a celebration that transforms the Paris 2024 Games into a grand fusion of “muscles and mind.” As Paris prepares to welcome the world, the Cultural Olympiad sets the stage for a spectacular fusion of talents and traditions. It invites everyone to witness and partake in this extraordinary celebration.

The Origin And Sprit Of Cultural Olympiad

The Cultural Olympiad is an integral aspect of the Olympic Games that intertwines the worlds of art and sport. It also epitomises the harmony between “muscles and mind” as envisioned by Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics. 

The tradition of merging sport and art dates back to the ancient Olympic Games in Greece. Here, artistic competitions were just as prominent as athletic ones. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, inspired by this ancient tradition, reintroduced the concept in the modern Olympic Games. Since 1912, the Games have included artistic competitions across various disciplines such as sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, and music. This was known as the “Pentathlon des Arts.” 

The Cultural Olympiad, as we know it today, began at the 1992 Barcelona Games. It has since become a staple of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It offers a wide array of cultural events that add a festive, humanistic, and philosophical dimension to the sporting festivities. The Cultural Olympiad extends from the end of one Olympic Games to the end of the following Paralympic Games. It certainly provides a continuous cultural celebration. 

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Paris 2024’s Visionary Blend Of Culture And Competition


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The Paris 2024 Cultural Olympiad is particularly notable for its inclusivity and breadth. It aims to be a celebration for everyone, with hundreds of free events including concerts, performances, exhibitions, dance shows, films, workshops, and parades. Paris 2024 encourages participation from a diverse array of artists, troupes, non-profits, communities, and sports clubs. 

 The Cultural Olympiad features numerous large-scale cultural events, ensuring that culture is as central to the Games as sport. These events take place not only in traditional venues like theatres and museums but also in public spaces, sports halls, and unexpected places.

The Cultural Olympiad enriches the Olympic experience by adding a layer of cultural depth to the sporting events. It creates a festive atmosphere and highlights the shared human values that underpin both art and sport.

By engaging communities, fostering inclusivity, and celebrating cultural diversity, the Cultural Olympiad leaves a lasting legacy that extends beyond the Games themselves.

Cover Image Courtesy: Olympics/Website and Jack Sloan Art/X