Pierre de Coubertin

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Coubertin, Pierre de


Born Jan.'l, 1863, in Paris; died Sept. 2, 1937, in Geneva. Baron, French public figure, teacher, historian, and man of letters; he initiated the revival of the ancient Olympic Games as an international sports competition.

Coubertin received his education at the Saint Cyr military school and at a law school and a school of political science in Paris. After rejecting the family tradition of a military career, he devoted his life to reforming national education and advancing physical education and the international sports movement. In 1894 an international sports congress was held in Paris upon Coubertin's initiative; it adopted a resolution on the revival of the Olympic Games. Coubertin was secretary-general of the International Olympic Committee from 1894 to 1896, its president from 1896 to 1925, and its honorary president from 1925 to 1937. He worked out the fundamental rules for conducting the Olympic Games and wrote the text of the oath taken by Olympic athletes.

Coubertin was the author of numerous works dealing with sports and physical education. At an arts competition in 1912 devoted to the games of the Fifth Olympiad, his “Ode to Sports,” written under a pseudonym, was awarded the gold medal. He was buried at Lausanne, but in accordance with his wishes his heart was interred at Olympia—the center of the ancient Olympic Games.


Mémoires olympiques. Lausanne, 1931.
Une Campagne de vingt et un ans. [Paris] 1908.
Les Jeux olympiques de 1896. Paris, 1896.
Pédagogic sportive. Paris, 1922.
“La Psychologic du sport.”Revue des deux mondes, 1900, vol. 160.
“Le Sport et la société moderne.”Revue hebdomadaire, 1914, vol. 6.


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Using a pseudonym, De Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, entered his poem in the art competition at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, winning gold in the literature category.
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