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Coubertin’s fencing mask

Pierre de Coubertin

©CIO

Pierre de Coubertin
France
1863-1937

Pierre Frédy, baron de Coubertin, born of an aristocratic family, was a highly active sportsman. He practised boxing, fencing, horse riding and rowing. He was convinced that sport was the springboard for renewed moral energy.

The founder of the International Olympic Committee, in which he held the position of Secretary General, then President until 1925, Pierre de Coubertin gifted the Olympic Movement with his philosophical principles.

Nothing summarises his state of mind better than his definition of Olympism and its four principles: to be a religion i.e. to “adhere to an ideal of a higher life, to strive for perfection”; to represent an elite “whose origins are completely egalitarian” and at the same time an “aristocracy” with all its moral qualities; to create a truce with “a four-yearly celebration of the springtime of mankind”; and to glorify beauty by the “involvement of the arts and the mind in the Games”.

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