skip to content
  • Who was Pierre de Coubertin?
    • Baron Pierre de Coubertin was the founder of the modern Olympic Games. Inspired by the ancient Olympic Games held in Olympia, Greece, which ended in 393 AD, Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin decided to pursue his project to revive the Olympic Games. A man who devoted his life to education, history and sociology, in 1894 he founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help build a peaceful and better world by educating young people through sport. The first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896 in Athens.

      Born in Paris in 1863, Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, came from an aristocratic family. He was a very keen sportsman, who enjoyed boxing, fencing, horse-riding and rowing. He firmly believed that sport was the key to developing mental energy. He was behind the creation of the five-ring Olympic symbol in 1913, the Olympic Charter and protocol, the athletes’ oath and the main components of the Games opening and closing ceremonies. It was also he who said: “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”

      Between 1896 and 1925, he was IOC President. He died in Geneva, Switzerland, on 2 September 1937. In accordance with his last wishes, his heart was laid to rest in Olympia, Greece, in the marble stele which commemorates the revival of the Olympic Games.

      Learn more:

Olympic documents

Visit the Olympic.org documents repository to find a list of all documents published on this website. This section contains the major reports, studies, publications and information regarding the Olympic Movement.

View documents

Olympic studies

The IOC Olympic Studies Centre is the world source of reference for Olympic knowledge. As an integral part of the IOC, we are uniquely placed to provide the most accurate, relevant and up-to-date information on Olympism.

Learn more
back to top Fr