Zappas.org
for the founders of the Modern Olympic Games



The Greek Star

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:
- Evangelis Zappas funded Olympic Games held in 1859, 1870, 1875, and 1896 and had left enough money in his legacy to fund Olympics in perpetuity;
- Evangelis Zappas bought the site of the Olympic stadium, and the land surrounding the stadium, he paid for its excavation and refurbishment;
- the Panathenian stadium was used to host events at Olympic Games in 1870, 1875, 1896, 1906, and 2004;
- the Zappeion hosted fencing events during Athens 1896, it hosted the first Olympic village during Athens 1906, it was used as the Media Center during Athens 2004;
- a statue of George Averoff was placed outside the Panathenian stadium since he funded another refurbishment of the stadium;
- a statue of Evangelis Zappas was placed outside the Zappeion and his own skull was placed in a crypt near the statue;
- Baron Pierre de Coubertin got all the credit for founding the modern Olympic Games and many years later when he died his heart was buried under his statue at Olympia.

Yours faithfully,
Zappas.org

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Recommended reading by Zappas.org:

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The Modern Olympics: A Struggle for Revival

cover

by
David. C Young

published by
The Johns Hopkins University Press

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A Brief History of the Olympics

cover

by
David. C Young

published by
Blackwell Publishing

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