Pierre de Coubertin
Baron Pierre de Coubertin had the idea of beginning the Olympics. In his late 20s he wanted fitness and athleticism to be part of every day life. He believed physical education should be the central part of life. Soon he put all of his feelings and effort together with the plan of bringing back the long-dead Olympic Games.
chose to proclaim his idea on a November night in 1892 in Paris with a
speech at the Sorbonne. He increased listener's attention, then proclaimed his
focal point that peace could be advanced through “ this grandiose and beneficent
work: the re-establishment of the Olympic Games!” The
puzzled audience had no clue as to what he was talking about and then started
questioning him about his ideas.
He called together an international meeting in Paris in 1894 with leading sportsmen from the nine countries. After a week of dining and amusement, he engineered votes to bring back the ancient Olympic Games in Athens in March 1896. When the Greek government frowned at the expense, de Coubertin persuaded the ruler of Greece and his sons to lead a fund-raising campaign. They convinced George Averoff, a wealthy Greek good-hearted person, to donate money for a new stadium. The disappointing Paris Games in 1900 were not de Coubertin’s doing. The Paris Games of 1924, which he oversaw as leader of the IOC, were far more productive and non-controversial. When the Games were completed, he resigned feeling proud of the successful Games and his accomplishments.
He was nominated for the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1936 and was deeply saddened when he heard the jury did not
select him. The prize would have
served as justification of his long time faith that one day the Games would
somehow provide world peace.
At the age of 74, on September 2, 1937 de Coubertin died of a stroke. In his will he stated that his heart be removed from his body and buried at Olympia in Greece. His wish was carried out.