Skip to main content

Olympic Games | Paris: The Birthplace of the Modern Olympics

Parcours du Marathon olympique et informations sur le marathon pour tous

Guillaume Bontemps/Ville de Paris

The 1924 Olympic Games left a lasting legacy for the city of Paris and its suburbs, with the Yves-du-Manoir stadium in Colombes and the Georges-Vallerey swimming pool in the 20th arrondissement. The impact of the Olympic Games on Paris, its urban development and its infrastructure is undeniable, but the reverse is also true: Paris has had a major impact on the history of the Games. Let's dig into the details.

The Olympic Games as we know them today, and in particular the illustrious International Olympic Committee (IOC), originated in the City of Light. Much of the credit goes to the dynamic figure of Pierre de Coubertin.

It was in 1888 that the famous baron embarked on a mission to reform the French education system and set up the "Committee for the Promotion of Physical Education". This committee, whose president was Jules Simon, had the task of introducing and institutionalising physical activity and sport in schools.

At the same time, Coubertin played a key role in the promotion of school sports by joining the leadership of the USFSA, the French Union of Athletic Sports - the predecessor of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee. With the support of the USFSA, Coubertin organised the first Olympic Congress in 1894. It was during this event, held in the magnificent amphitheatre of the Sorbonne, that he first proposed the idea of reviving the ancient Olympic Games (after a gap of more than 1,500 years) and creating an authority to govern them: the IOC.

The IOC's organisational structure took shape through an Executive Commission, also set up in Paris in 1921, and various commissions, sessions and congresses. The capital hosted a total of eight IOC sessions (1894, 1901, 1903, 1914, 1922, 1924, 1955 and 1994).

The IOC Constitution was ratified on 7 November 1921 at the headquarters of the French Olympic Committee in the 8th arrondissement. A total of twelve Executive Commissions have met in Paris. It was here, in the capital, that the Games were organised and structured.

Key Figures :

• 22. This is the number of female athletes who competed in the 1900 Games out of a total of 997 participants (just 2%). In Paris 2024, there will be an equal number of women and men among the 10,500 athletes competing.


Paris Olympic Games, 2024, Olympic Games

  • Hits: 115