1984 : The Paris congress

In 1894, Pierre de Coubertin wanted to organize a congress to revive the Olympic games. But only a few people were interested in this idea. Amateurism, on the other hand, was a hotly debated subject. Therefore, de Coubertin decided to mislead the people, by inviting them for an 'International Congress of Amateurs'. Seven of the eight points on the agenda concerned amateurism, the eighth addressed the possibility of a revival of the Olympic games. Some weeks before the congress he changed the name into 'International Athletic Congress', adding two items about the Olympic games to the agenda. And when the congress began, the participants read on the official program: 'International Congress for the Revival of the Olympic Games'.

The baron handled the matter smartly: he entertained the participants with splendid festivities, with as climax the performance of an ancient hymn, based on music notations discovered in Delphi. All participants voted in favour of the revival of the Olympic games. The congress decided on Athens as the location for 1896 and Paris for 1900 and founded the International Olympic Committee. The first president was the Greek Demetrios Vikelas. After the 1896 games in Athens de Coubertin succeeded him.

© KU Leuven, 2012