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The Brussels Congress of 1905 was to have taken place two years earlier in order to determine the regulations of the 1904 Olympics, but when the head of the Organising Committee resigned it was postponed to 1905. Not for the first time an Olympic Congress was scheduled with the original agenda removed, leaving the way clear for Pierre de Coubertin to devise the programme according to his wishes. He took the opportunity to return to the pedagogical themes discussed at the 1897 Congress.
But while the subject matter may have been familiar, the 1905 Congress was significant for drawing its delegates from a far wider net than either of the two previous Congresses. There were 205 people from 21 countries in Brussels, sent by 14 governments, nine universities and 54 sports federations. The USA and South America were both well represented. Among the participants were teachers, professors, officers, physicians, journalists, sports officials, scientists and writers. The ceremonial address was given by Marcel Prévost, a famous French novelist who spoke on “The Mind in the School of Sport”.
The official title of the event was the International Congress for Sport and Physical Education and many recommendations came out of it addressing issues ranging from formal exercise in schools to competition between nations. But the recommendations of the 1905 Congress were of less importance than the fact that, in Brussels, different circles which until then had not had any contact with sport, met for the first time and worked successfully together.