These publications include historically rich material such as daily programmes, rules and regulations, official reports, athletes’ directories and many more documents that provide a ready reckoner of the evolution of the Olympic Games, especially from the perspective of France as a host nation.
“Fifty publications of the current Paris 2024 OCOG have already been included in our collection, and hundreds will be added in the next two years. The publications of the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games represent an important part of the written legacy of the Games. Guaranteeing their preservation and accessibility is one of our key missions,” said Maria Bogner, Head of the Olympic Studies Centre.
“The collection we hold on these early Games editions is already very comprehensive, although we continue to acquire some works that are missing. For example, we acquired several sports programmes from the Olympic Games Paris 1924 at a recent auction just a few months ago. They will be digitised this year to complete the project.”
The French Games digitisation project was undertaken in 2021 in the run-up to Paris 2024. So far, this includes more than 250 publications – invaluable resources that are now available at the click of a button in the Olympic World Library, to anyone interested in diving into the rich history of the Olympic Games. The documents provide a rare glimpse into not just the historical but also the socio-cultural context that the Games were held in.
The Paris 1900 rules and regulations, for example, specify that the gymnastics championships were open to all, with the exception of professionals who had publicly performed their exercises in a circus or a theatre (in French: à l’exception des professionnels qui font ou qui ont fait publiquement leurs exercices dans un cirque ou un théâtre).The athletes’ directory for Grenoble 1968 lists the legendary alpine ski racer Jean-Claude Killy, while the Official Report speaks of gender verification and doping control – a milestone moment, as this was the first time that sex testing was performed at the Olympic Games.
The digitised collection of OCOG publications continues to grow and is regularly enriched with new, but also more historical material.
“We have also digitised the publications of previous Games held in Japan, including Tokyo 1940, Tokyo 1964, Sapporo 1972, and Nagano 1998, ahead of Tokyo 2020,” added Bogner. “We are currently digitising the Italian Games of Rome 1960, Cortina 1956 and Turin 2006 as we also keep an eye on the horizon for Milano Cortina 2026.”
“As the prime centre for Olympic knowledge, our objective is to make this accessible to people around the world who would never be able to visit the OSC in Switzerland,” concluded Bogner. “Besides supporting decision- and policy-making, we aim to promote and support education and research on topics centred around the Olympic Games, the Olympic Movement and its place in society. Acquiring the most up-to-date and relevant publications and giving people access to our unique and rare collections are important pillars of our services.”
The Olympic Studies Centre, which celebrates its 40th anniversary later this year, started as a small library housed within the temporary Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1982. Today part of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, it houses thousands of documents, publications, books, journals and archives – both physical and digital – that are placed at the service of educators, professors, researchers and students, including the over 50 academic Olympic Studies and Research Centres (OSRCs) around the world.
The Olympic World Library is the Olympic Studies Centre’s online library catalogue and information portal, which is entirely dedicated to literature related to the Olympic Movement, the Olympic Games and Olympism. It includes official publications by the IOC and OCOGs, with books going back to the first edition of the Games in Athens in 1896.