In his own special way, Tintin is a sportsman. Although he is never directly shown playing sports in "The Adventures of Tintin" (except in one frame in "Tintin and the Picaros", where he is doing yoga), the plucky reporter shares certain character traits with some of the greatest sports personalities of history.
Brave, focussed and keen to give his all to whatever he is doing, Tintin has some of the qualities that make champions.
In 2016 we are enjoying and still looking forward to a series of top-quality sporting events. Eighteen months after the FIFA World Cup, France is currently hosting another major international football competition – UEFA Euro 2016. In a few weeks the Olympic Games will begin in Rio. And it is not only in France and Brazil that huge sporting events are taking place this year...
There are so many good and bad things said about sport. But we forget too often that one of the most important things about this activity is that it is good for the mind and good for the body, like having a bath...
Competitive sports are only practised by a small minority of people. Champions are not examples that we should imitate, rather they are a bit like PR agents for the sports they specialise in. There are millions of people who like cycling but only a few dozen experts capable of competing in the Tour de France.
It is completely normal that young people should be interested in sport, which is why Tintin is also interested in it.
Tintin magazine, 19 December 1946, Tintin sports N.13
In boxing it is crucial to know how to defend as well as how to attack. The greatest boxers are those who manage to link the two to avoid and divert attacks while preparing a powerful counter-attack which can often make the difference. Tintin shows himself nimble and alert as he makes a great controlled defence against a bully in Prisoners of the Sun.
This year we are celebrating the 70th birthday of Tintin Magazine; it is the perfect occasion to have a look back at the sports columns that were published in the magazine.
At the end of the 1940s and the start of the 1950s, a lot of the content was focussed on current affairs, to cater for the growing curiosity of young readers.
Raymond Leblanc and his editorial team were constantly challenged to “Adapt to the world without losing the soul; to safeguard the Tintin spirit while remaining true to current affairs.” Sport is an integral part of education for young people and thus had a rightful place in a weekly magazine for “everyone from 7 to 77 years old”. The Latin motto Mens sana in corporel sano (a healthy mind in a health body) was promoted, as were role models for various sports.
TINTIN MAGAZINE ISSUE 51, 16 DECEMBER 1948
EURO 2016 – 10 JUNE TO 10 JULY
GOALLL! Tintin is enthusiastic about this year's EURO competition – may the best team win! And, of course, in Belgium everyone is shouting “Go Red Devils!” With the competition in full swing in every Brussels street you can see the black, yellow and red stripes of the Belgian flag.
Follow the Belgian football team on Twitter: #DiableRouges / #Euro2016 / #Belgique
A LITTLE STORY
Do you know, dear friends, that the ubiquitous sport of football is one of the oldest sports in the world? Football has existed in its current form for over a century. The definitive rules of the game were drawn up in around 1830 in England.
Going further back in time, Roman soldiers in the armies of Caesar and Augustus liked to play a game called Haspartum, which was similar to football and extremely popular throughout the Empire.
Tintin Magazine, 6 January 1949, Tintin Sports No.1
In 1872 the first English football cup competition took place. A few years later the game reached beyond the borders of the United Kingdom and in 1881, the Antwerp Football Club was founded. From that moment onwards football rapidly became more and more popular, spreading like wildfire in Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and France.
Tintin Magazine, 27 January 1949, Tintin Sports No.4
TOUR DE FRANCE – 2 to 24 JULY
It's summertime and the weather is getting hot. Time to jump on our bikes and pedal as fast as we can go. Tintin leads the convoy on his red bike. Kitted out in cycling shoes and goggles, the sporty reporter is off to conquer the roads of France. His friends bring up the rear...
Winner of last year's Tour de France, the British cyclist Christopher Froome will probably be the favourite to win again this year, for the 103rd competition. The splendid route is surrounded by spectacular scenery and passes by Saint Gervais Mont-Blanc. It is reminiscent of the trekking location Tintin enjoys at the beginning of Tintin in Tibet.
One thing is for sure. Many of the race participants will probably be thinking the same as Captain Haddock:
There are many myths that attest to the importance of the Olympic Games. In Ancient Greece celebrations were always linked to a god or several gods. Mythology was an integral part of culture and society and the Games originated in legends and stories. The sporting events were also rituals to honour the gods, and participants did not only compete for themselves, but also on behalf of the gods.
The Olympic Games were organised in honour of the gods and some legends – notably the legends of Zeus and Heracles – are inextricably linked with them.
In this way, to become one with their gods and to remain in shape (which might become important sooner or later in their duties to their city) the Greeks practised gymnastics, dance, wrestling, discus-throwing and javelin, jumping and of course chariot-racing.
Tintin Magazine, 27 February 1947, Tintin Sports No.9
1* Discobole Lancellotti - Massimo allé Terme, Wikipedia 2* Lanceur de javelot. Œnochoé attique à figures rouges, vers 450 av. J.-C.Wikipedia 3* Athlete donning a victory bandana. British Museum.
Of course the main objective of the Games themselves was to win. Winners were honoured almost as if they were gods themselves!
Tintin tries out different sports played in the Olympic Games. Snowy also has a go.
Great honour was awarded winners of the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece. But in terms of physical rewards winners did not receive gold, jewels or anything like that; an olive branch or a cloth bandana were the symbols of victory.
Tintin Magazine, 27 March 1947, Tintin Sports No.12
WIMBLEDON, FROM 27 JUNE TO 10 JULY
Wimbledon Tennis Championship is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and is widely considered the most prestigious. The tournament has been held in London since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Wimbledon is the only major still played on grass.
Our friend Tintin could probably have been an accomplished sportsman, if he was not a reporter! This is not so surprising, as Hergé created Tintin to be a model of youth, as much in his mastery of his movements as in spirit. Tintin is young at heart and also agile and physically fit.
Long live sport, and may the best win!
(Without forgetting the motto: “The important thing is to take part”.)
CHECK OUT THESE PICTURES OF TINTIN GETTING PHYSICAL!