- 26 May 2009
- IOC News
Series on Olympic Congresses: Paris 1994
The Centennial Olympic Congress in 1994, otherwise known as the Congress of Unity, was held in Paris, just as the first Congress had been. The opening speech was delivered by the then Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, and among the distinguished guests was Jacques Cousteau.
In an endeavour to reconcile art, culture and sport several exhibitions and special events were organised. The Olympic Flame was relayed by athletes from the Eiffel Tower to Bercy, site of the Congress, via the Sorbonne; the Olympic Flag was brought down the Eiffel Tower by a champion climber; and there were several sports events including an Oxford-Cambridge-France boat race, the 8th Paris International Triathlon and a commemoration of the first final of the French rugby championship, a game that had taken place in 1892 and was refereed by Pierre de Coubertin.
Protection of the environment
The Congress proved trend-setting in an area of great interest today, namely protection of the environment which was declared to be an essential component of Olympism. A survey was conducted and measures to optimize the Olympic Movement's contribution to preserving the environment were defined. Also at the 1994 Congress, for the first time the media were invited to speak and an entire theme was given over to them.