for the founders of the Modern Olympic Games
August 7, 2012
Who founded the modern Olympic Games? (Op/Ed)
So you think that you know who founded the modern Olympic Games. Almost everybody on the planet would answer ‘Baron Pierre de Coubertin’. Hardly anybody takes the trouble to find out if that answer is accurate. Why bother when the global media continually embosses that response in our grey matter.
The Baron founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but that does not automatically make him the founder of the modern Olympic Games. The IOC claims that the first modern Olympic Games was held in Athens in 1896 even though the philanthropist Evangelis Zappas had sponsored his first Olympics in 1859. His legacy also funded Olympics in 1870, and 1875.
You would think that the IOC must have built the first Olympic stadium in modern times. No, the only stadium used to host Olympic Games in the 19th century was the Panathenian stadium. It was originally built by the ancient Greeks for the ancient Panathenian or Panathenaic Games.
Then obviously the Baron must have got some cleaners in to get it ready for Athens 1896. No, since Zappas bought the site and surrounding lands and funded the stadium’s excavation and refurbishment. In fact, his original request to the Greek government of the time was that it be refurbished in marble. Ofcourse, despite more than adequate funding it was refurbished in wood instead. He also gave enough funding to the government for the Olympic Games to be held in the Panathenian stadium every four years in perpetuity and for the Zappeion to be built. His funding was also used to build a new gym.
So maybe the Baron got it refurbished in marble. No, the Greek philanthropist George Averoff provided the funding for that. In fact, the Zappas legacy also part funded Athens 1896.
Despite the IOC providing no funding for Athens 1896, Baron Pierre de Coubertin did make a request for the Olympic legacy of Zappas to be released for Athens 1896.
In summary, with additional highlights:
Recommended reading by Zappas.org: