Alisher Usmanov: Russian oligarch donates $8.8 million Olympic manifesto to museum

The original 14-page copy of Pierre de Coubertin’s speech, in which the French aristocrat first outlined his vision of the modern Olympic Games, was bought at a New York auction for $8,806,500 in December last year, according to Sothebys.

A former stakeholder in Arsenal who has an estimated net worth of $12.6 billion, Usmanov is the president of the International Fencing Federation.

“Pierre de Coubertin had a vision of a world united by athletic pursuits and not divided by confrontations and wars. I believe that the Olympic Museum is the most appropriate place to keep this priceless manuscript,” said Usmanov on Monday.

It is the first time the manifesto has been displayed to the public, months before the 2020 Games get underway in Tokyo.

Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) two years after giving the speech in Paris, and in 1896 the first modern Games was staged in Athens, Greece.

In the speech, Coubertin envisions a world united by sporting competition, where athletics would do more to bring about peace than “telegraph, railways, the telephone, the passionate research in science, congresses and exhibitions” have.

READ: Puerto Rico women’s basketball team qualifies for Olympics for the first time

The manuscript exceeded its estimated sale price by nearly $8 million and, according to Sotheby’s, set the auction record for sporting memorabilia.

“Today we are witnessing history,” said IOC president Thomas Bach.

“At one level, we are witness to this historic document, the manuscript of the speech that laid out the philosophical foundations of the Olympic Movement.

“On another level, we are witnessing a historic moment, with this manuscript returning to its Olympic home, the place where it belongs.”

De Coubertin also gave the Olympics its current motto of citius, altius, fortius — faster, higher stronger — a phrase he borrowed from his friend Henri Didon.

Usmanov’s USM company is also Everton’s current training ground sponsor and last month agreed a $39 million (£30 million) deal for the naming rights of the Premier League club’s new stadium.