for the founders of the Modern Olympic Games
July 29, 2012
London is not the first city to host the Olympics three times
29th July 2012
Dear Lord Coe,
Re: London is not the first city to host the Olympics three times
I am a member of the International Society of Olympic Historians and am contributing to London 2012 through the Society of Olympic Collectors at Olympex.
During the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 you claimed, echoing Jacques Rogge, that London is the only city to have hosted the Olympics three times.
Athens has hosted Olympic Games, under the auspices of the IOC, in 1896, 1906, and 2004. Athens 1906 was acknowledged by the IOC to be its second Olympics when it was held (see p.155 ‘A Brief History of the Olympic Games’ by David C. Young). Paris 1900 and St. Louis 1904 were held under the auspices of the Paris Exposition and the World’s Fair respectively and were not recognised by the IOC at that time.
Paris and St. Louis were later brought under the IOC's umbrella but that left the IOC with a dilemma of what to do with Athens 1906. It was not until the ‘Brundage Commission’ of 1949 that the IOC reached a decision to call them ‘Intermediate Games’.
Olympic Games hosted prior to the foundation of the IOC, in 1894, are not recognised by the IOC. That excludes three hosted in Athens in 1859, 1870, and 1875. The Panathenian stadium in Athens, the only Olympic stadium of the 19th century, has hosted events at five Olympics since 1870.
The IOC also ignores an Olympics held in London, in 1866, and the National Olympic Association, which was called ‘National Olympian Association’ at that time, was specifically founded for the event.
I am concerned that you are doing a disservice to the Olympians of Athens 1906 who competed at the IOC’s second Olympic Games and knew exactly what they were competing for. Unfortunately, none of them are still alive to argue their case and they posthumously deserve a public apology.
cc: Jacques Rogge (President of the IOC) and the International Society of Olympic Historians.
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