“I am sure our admired and beloved founder, Pierre de Coubertin, is with us in spirit today. I hope that seeing us from above will warm his heart, which is so close to us here,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. The creation of the IOC EB is one of Coubertin’s legacies. The first EB meeting took place on 7 November 1921.
While it is not entirely clear why the EB was founded, the minutes of the very first EB meeting say that the raison d’être of the Executive Commission, which was what it was called at the time, was to ensure the smooth operation of the IOC during periods when the IOC President would be absent. One hundred years ago, the newly created board was responsible for managing the finances and ensuring that the IOC’s rules with regard to the Olympic Games were observed and implemented.
“In fact, the core functions of the EB have endured until today and served our organisation well over the past century,” Bach explained. “The topics discussed at the very first EB meeting were not too different from what we would see on one of our agendas today.” Like in 2021, in 1921 the EB was updated on the state of preparations for an upcoming edition of the Olympic Games – Paris 1924. President Bach added: “In another parallel to the present, Paris and Los Angeles are mentioned in the same breath with regard to the organisation of Olympic Games, showing that the connection we see today between these great Olympic hosts even goes back a century.”
The IOC President recalled in his speech that all EB members are “only temporary trustees of the great heritage. As our predecessors have done before us, let us ensure that we continue to carry this responsibility with dignity so that we can pass on this wonderful Olympic legacy to the next generations of Olympic leaders.”
He also reminded everyone about the landmark decisions the IOC EB has taken in the last 100 years: “From laying the groundwork for electing Olympic hosts, to the composition of the Olympic programme, to establishing the traditions of Olympic ceremonies, to promoting gender equality, to creating the TOP programme, to setting the course for the future with Olympic Agenda 2020 and Olympic Agenda 2020+5.”
Following his speech, the IOC President and the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, each planted an olive tree next to the Coubertin Grove.
To close the ceremony, the IOC President and the IOC Vice-Presidents laid a wreath in memory of Pierre de Coubertin.
Read the full speech given by the IOC President during the ceremony here.
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