Coubertin Quote for Dec, 14
President Doumergue had only been in the Élysée Palace a week when … he drove … to the Sorbonne to attend the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the revival of the Olympic Games.Share
The day of June 23, 1924, marked the high point of Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s relationship with his mother country, France, as he walked through the court of honor at the Sorbonne with the newly elected president, Monsieur Gaston Doumergue, to celebrate the 30thanniversary of the founding of the Games. While the Baron found dozens of great allies in his early efforts to reform French education in the 1880s and launch the modern Olympics in 1894, he was also constantly confronted by adversaries and outright enemies who opposed his proposals. Before the IOC awarded the 1924 Games to Paris, French opponents of the Baron pushed for a takeover of the IOC by the League of Nations. And years later, when the Baron turned seventy, he noted that congratulatory telegrams arrived from everywhere but France. The contentious relations between the Baron and France hit a low point after the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin when the French press claimed Olympism was dead and the Baron was forced to defend his Movement and the German hosts. After his death in 1937, his countryman rallied to recognize his greatness and from the 1960s on, many sought to bring acclaim to his name. With the 2024 Olympic Games now being organized in Paris, one might hope France will find new ways to elevate the Olympic achievements of its native son and help him gain the posthumous recognition he deserves. This passage is from “The Eighth Olympiad: Paris 1924,” chapter 21 in the Baron’s Olympic Memoirs.
“President Doumergue had only been in the Élysée Palace a week when, accompanied by his escort, he drove in state to the Sorbonne to attend the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the revival of the Olympic Games. He was presented with a case containing two medals, one medal struck thirty years earlier, on which was written: ‘The International Congress in Paris proclaims the revival of the Olympic Games, June 23,1894’—and by its side another, with an identical design, inscribed with the words: ‘The nations assembled here celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the revival of Olympism, June 23, 1924.’”