Why The Rio Olympics Will be a Success: The Olympic Values and the 2000 “Celebrate Humanity” Campaign


Celebrate Humanity logo.jpgWhy do we love the Olympics? Why will the Rio Olympics succeed despite the political, environmental, security and health issues hanging over the Games like a black cloud on the verge of bursting?

Because we love what The Olympics make us feel, what the five colored rings represent: hope, dreams and inspiration, friendship and fair play, and the joy we have in making an effort.

After the 1996 Olympics Games in Atlanta, considered one of those most commercially blatant Olympics in the modern age, and the bid-rigging scandals of the Salt Lake City Games, the International Olympic Committee believed they had to reassert and protect the brand by reminding the world what the true value of the Olympics were. Thus was born the Celebrate Humanity campaign.

Enrolling TBWA, Chiat Day and their legendary worldwide creative director, Lee Clow, the man who developed the commercial that launched the Macintosh (“Think Different”), the IOC launched a series of public service announcements on television that dominated the airwaves leading up to the 2000 Sydney Games.

With the unmistakable voice of Robin Williams bringing both joy, tenderness and strength to the images, the Celebrate Humanity ads were everywhere – on your TV, radio, on your in-flight screen, in your magazines. Incredibly, broadcasters were even asking the IOC how much they had to pay to air the spots, according to Michael Payne, who tells this story of the Olympic brand in his book, Olympic Turnaround.

The campaign included seven short films that represent the Olympic values, symbolizing them, for example, in the 400-meter sprinter, Derek Redmond of Great Britain who pulled a hamstring during the competition at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, but gamely limped onto the finish line, or the Nigerian women’s 4×100-meter relay team who celebrate their bronze medal effort after first thinking they had finished fourth.

Watch them and be inspired.


Strength is measured in pounds. Speed is measured in seconds. Courage…   You can’t measure courage.


Just a reminder: At the Olympic Games, you don’t have to come in first to win.


When you smile, I smile, that’s the deal. I’ll not walk past you, and not look you in the eyes, and not acknowledge you. Instead we’ll pass each other and say hello. Not with our words–they’re not the same–but with our faces. I meet you and see there is good in your eyes. There’s passion in your heart and there’s a friendly hello in your smile, and for the first time we can relate and appreciate each other. That’s all it takes. That’s where it starts. Because I know that you will smile and I will smile. And all the rest is easy.


You are my adversary, but you are not my enemy. For your resistance gives me strength, your will gives me courage, your spirit ennobles me. And though I aim to defeat you, should I succeed, I will not humiliate you. Instead, I will honor you. For without you, I am a lesser man.


Someone once said, “You don’t win the silver, you lose the gold.” Obviously they never won the silver.



To be a giant. This has forever been our passion, this desire to be a giant. Not to stand on one’s shoulders or have one for a friend, though these may be fortunate things, but to be one. Giants step over barriers that seem never-ending. They conquer mountains that appear insurmountable. Giants rise above fear, triumph over pain, push themselves and inspire others to be a Giant, to do Giant things, to take Giant steps, to move the world forward.