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for the founders of the Modern Olympic Games



Journal of Olympic History

Volume 20 | Number 3 | 2012

Letter to the Editor

Re: Olympians of the Athens 1906 Olympic Games posthumously dishonoured

During the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games both Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe claimed 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 recognised by the IOC, against the wishes of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, as its second Olympics when it was organised and held [see p.155 ‘A Brief History of the Olympic Games’ by Professor 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 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 from July 31, 1866, and the National Olympic Association, which was called ‘National Olympian Association’ at that time, was specifically founded for the event.

What I find particularly offensive is that Rogge and Coe made the claim during the Opening Ceremony since the parade of the athletes by nation was an innovation of Athens 1906. The Olympians of the Athens 1906 Olympic Games knew exactly what they competed for. Unfortunately, none of them are still alive to argue their case and they deserve a public apology.

Yours faithfully,
Mike Pagomenos

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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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