March 25th 1896, afternoon of our national holiday, at the full-to-the-limit Panathenian Stadium of Athens, the declaration of the opening of "First in Athens International Olympic Games" is heard through the mouth of the King and the most important chapter in the contemporary history of world athletics is written. Coubertin participated at the Games as the secretary of the First Olympic Committee under the presidency of Dimitrios Vikelas.
The founder of the modern Olympic Games and Olympic Movement, was born on January 1st, 1863. Son of the well-known painter Charles Louis Baron Fredy de Coubertin, and the highly-educated Agathe Gabrielle de Criseney, Pierre cultivated in an early age an inclination towards classical education and especially in the theory of education and educational systems. His country's, France, defeat from the Prussians in 1871 was humiliating for his patriotism. Thus he decided -at the age of 25- to help his compatriots realise what his studies had tought him and what was he had noticed was a common belief in other countries he traveled to: That athletic exercise was of great value in the intellectual development and upbringing of young people. Although athletics were ordinary in everyday life in neighbour countries like England, Germany, Sweden and Holland, in France there was complete indifference. With his faith in the idea of Olympism now firmly founded, he embarked upon a movement which was to embrace the whole of humanity.
Greece, for his valuable contribution in the revival of the Olympic Games and for his philhellenic activity, honored repeatedly baron de Coubertin. Amongst other distinctions, a commemorative stone with his name was put up in 1927 at Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games.
Pierre de Coubertin ceased to strive for the ideals of the Olympic Games on 2 September 1937, as he strolled in the Langrage Park, Geneva. His heart rests in Olympia, in a monument at the Iera Alti. The lykith (box) that carried his heart was carried to the "place which belongs to him, to the man who revived its soul and its conscience", on the 26th of March 1938, followed by a honorary corps of Boy Scouts of the 10th Scout Troop of the city of Patras.
The honorary corps of Boy Scouts of the 10th Scout Troop of Patras accompanying the heart of baron de Coubertin to its last home, Olympia
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle"
Baron Pierre de Coubertin
Property of PROSKOPOS 1999 www.proskopos.com
Digitally watermarked pictures