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The Olympic Studies Centre




While it is true that the development of the Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) is inseparable from the establishment of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne in 1915 and the creation of The Olympic Museum, the Studies Centre also has its own history.


The idea of creating a museum and an Olympic studies centre can be traced back to Pierre de Coubertin, who revived the Olympic Games. An educator first and foremost, the Baron was of the opinion that the Olympic Movement must pursue the educational objectives on which the institution was based. He wrote: “I have not been able to carry out to the end what I wanted to perfect. I believe that a centre of Olympic studies would aid the preservation and progress of my work more than anything else.”


It was thus several years after the IOC headquarters were established in Lausanne that Pierre de Coubertin set up at the Villa Mon-Repos the seed of an Olympic museum, responsible for collecting and preserving the legacy of the Games. The museum and studies centre then developed side by side. On 23 June 1982, the provisional Olympic Museum was inaugurated in the centre of Lausanne (on avenue Ruchonnet); and on 11 October, it was the turn of the library and the Olympic Studies Centre to open on the first floor of the building.


Since 1993, The Olympic Museum and the OSC have been based in Ouchy, on an esplanade facing Lake Geneva. The OSC is currently made up of the library, University Relations Section, Historical Archives Section and Research and Reference Services. Together these manage all the reference sources.
The Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) is today one of the world’s leading centres for written, visual and audio information on the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games. 


It is the entry point for the research, teaching or publications which contribute to education and the dissemination of Olympism and its values.

Its primary role is to serve the IOC and the whole Olympic Movement as well as independant researchers and academics.

The OSC’s main missions are: 

  • To ensure ongoing acquisition, preservation, description and diffusion of Olympic patrimony
  • To promote and facilitate access to Olympic related written and audiovisual collections 
  • To provide services of research, analysis and creation of content
  • To promote academic activities related to Olympism and stimulate synergies and collaboration between Olympic studies centres and researchers worldwide
  • To support the Olympic Movement to ensure that global Olympic patrimony is preserved and made available

The Olympic Studies Centre is divided into specialised services which work in close cooperation:

Historical Archives

Image Archives


Research and Reference service

University relations

With time and thanks to the initiative of universities and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) worldwide, over 30 Olympic studies centres on five continents have been created.
These centres, as well as universities specialised in the Olympic phenomenon, regularly contribute to enriching the field of Olympic research.

Acces to the IOC Olympic Studies Centre:


The OSC welcomes researchers, students and visitors in its facilities in the Villa du Centenaire, next to The Olympic Museum. Access to the Library collections is open and consultation to the Historical Archives is upon request: please fill out the visit request form.


Opening times


Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The OSC is closed Saturdays and Sundays, and on bank holidays.
See the access plan