Images & Sounds
The IOC’s Images & Sounds patrimony is composed of three collections: the photographic collection, the audiovisual collection and the sound collection. The period covered goes from 1896 to the present day. Thanks to the ambitious patrimonial conservation programmes launched in the early 2000s, the IOC’s Images & Sounds collections are now preserved in the best possible conditions. The valuable historical items have been restored and conditioned to make them accessible to future generations. Most of the collections have been digitised, archived and documented. The treasures of our Images & Sounds patrimony are now accessible via The Olympic Multimedia Library (TOML) for IOC partners and the Olympic family.
The photographic collections contain almost 650,000 images, the first dating from the 1896 Games in Athens. These collections document the competitions at the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games, behind the scenes activities, Games operations and organisation, the institutional activities of the IOC and its President, and the activities of The Olympic Museum. Now composed mainly of digital images, the collections also contain more than 2,000 restored precious photoprints, 40 glass plates, around 20 historic albums and almost 1,300 postcards.
Containing more than 45,000 hours of audiovisual content, the collection consists mainly of the televised coverage of the Olympic Games and Olympic films.
The Olympic Film collection spans from 1900, with images of the city of Paris, to 2018, with the Official Film of the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. Since 1952, with the arrival of the first film reels from the 1948 Olympic Games, most of the films in the IOC’s patrimonial collection have been stored at the Cinemathèque Suisse, to ensure their long-term preservation. Today, more than 11,000 reels of film are stored in optimum conditions and monitored by the experts who work at this specialised institution.
In 1996, the IOC began a vast programme to acquire and safeguard the Olympic films. Dating back to the start of the 20th century, the scope of this collection makes it unique among sports film archives. After 20 years of painstaking research and restoration, 40 feature films, 60 short films and more than 1,000 hours of rushes covering the period from 1912 to 1998 have been added to our collections.
The television broadcast collection consists mostly of images of the competitions at the Olympic Games, and covers the period from 1960 to 2018. Until the Games in Beijing in 2008, these images came from the host broadcasters. Since then, the images produced by Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) are routed to our collections in Lausanne. The rest of the audiovisual collection includes images of Games preparations, the Olympic torch relay, the IOC and The Olympic Museum’s institutional activities, and numerous interviews with Olympians.
The IOC sound collection contains 8,800 hours of sound recordings. The collection consists mainly of recordings of the IOC’s institutional meetings.