Heroes of the Olympic Games

Histories of the Olympics and Paralympics

black and white photograph of female athletes in a race

Citius, Altius, Fortius - Faster, Higher, Stronger - has been the motto of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for 125 years, since the beginning of the modern games in 1896. The motto symbolised the athletic achievements of the thousands of sportspeople who have taken part in the games over the years.

This exhibition shines a spotlight on around 50 different sportspeople from across Europe and beyond. Although they are just a small fraction of those who have taken part, we've highlighted these athletes, telling the stories of men and women from all across Europe and beyond, focusing on their lives and sporting achievements.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games, like all large international events, reflect world events and history. Sport - and the experiences of sportspeople - are a mirror to history. In the exhibition, we see great personal achievements and victories as well as reflecting changes in global and national politics, wars and conflicts, race relations, women's rights and more through more than a century of change.

Just like history, the Olympic and Paralympic Games are not static. They are transforming all the time. In 2021, the Olympics motto was expanded to 'Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together'.

Let's join together to discover the stories of these Olympic and Paralympic heroes.