Art, Culture and Heritage
Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life...
The Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH) drives the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s cultural and values-based educational activities. Dedicated to the international promotion and dissemination of Olympism, the OFCH links sport, culture, art, history and education.
The Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage includes the IOC Heritage Unit; the IOC Olympic Studies Centre; The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland; and the International Cultural Affairs Unit.
The Olympic Museum
The Olympic Museum in Lausanne (Switzerland) is at the heart of Olympic culture and heritage. The key storyteller of the Olympic idea, the Museum is not just about the collections, but also a journey of discovery of the Olympic Movement, and its essential contribution to society.
Art & Culture
Arts and culture have long been part of the Olympic programme. In Ancient Greece, art and sport were considered perfect partners.
The ideal was to achieve harmony by exercising both the body and the mind. With the birth of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, Pierre de Coubertin advocated for a strong alliance “among athletes, artists, and spectators”. At early editions of the Games (1912-1948), art competitions featured in the programme and medals were awarded in architecture, literature, musical composition, painting and sculpture...
Today the IOC, working in close collaboration with a multitude of partners a multitude of cultural players within the Olympic Movement and beyond, leads or supports the production of arts and culture programmes of during Games time and between the editions of the Games.
Olympism Made Visible is an international photography project that looks beyond professional athletics to trace the Olympic values and their impact when sport is placed at the service of humankind through community-based activities around the world. It explores the power of sport as a tool for social development and change, as seen through the eyes of renowned international photographers who work at the intersection of fine art and social documentary.
Olympic Art Visions is a programme of commissions by the IOC to leading contemporary artists, to allow for the creation of large-scale public art installations and participatory “live performances” during and between different editions of the Games. The programme aims to bring people together through the presentation of pioneering artworks in public spaces, and to encourage them to join in a fresh dialogue around the Olympic ideals and values.
Launched by the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage at PyeongChang 2018, the Olympian Artists programme celebrates the links between sport and culture. The programme offers Olympians with artistic talent opportunities to produce and present new artworks during or between editions of the Olympic Games, and to share their inspirational life stories with a wider audience.
Since the early 20th century, each of the Olympic Games editions has left a moving image legacy: the Olympic Films. The Official Olympic Films have been inspired by the Olympic Moment to push the boundaries of the Olympic documentary tradition and create powerful cinema as part of the Olympic Games’ cultural legacy.
Since the early 20th century, posters have been created by Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs) to promote and advertise this major sporting and cultural event. Some OCOGs have invited internationally renowned artists to create highly individualistic posters and become part of a powerful visual legacy forever associated with a specific edition of the Games. Many of these visual art posters have become artistic and cultural icons.
First staged at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Agora is a unique cultural platform created by the OFCH to promote Olympic culture and values among global audiences. Inspired by the Ancient Greek tradition of a social hub, the Agora is a space for cross-cultural dialogue and discovery at the intersection of sport, art, culture and education.
Olympic Heritage Collections
The IOC’s patrimonial collections are managed by the Heritage Unit of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage. This includes the acquisition, preservation, restoration, documentation, study and securing the availability (for internal and external partners) of more than 90,000 artefacts, 900,000 photographs, 58,000 hours of videos, 8,900 hours of sound documents and 1.5km of historical archives.
Olympic-related artefacts include objects such as torches, medals, trophies, artworks, posters, sports equipment, ceremony outfits, licensed products, flags, models and stamp and coin collections from the Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games, Olympic sports and the IOC’s relations with the Olympic Movement. The objects in the collections are inventoried, photographed, professionally conserved and studied, to enable us to fulfil our mission of promoting Olympism. Loans to other institutions and requests for reproductions and reallocations are managed through the Culture & Education Hub.
The IOC Archives were opened along with The Olympic Museum in 1993. They preserve and make available the administrative memory of the IOC. The documents held by the archives team come mainly from transfers from the IOC administration, plus from certain private collections. We also acquire individual items through auction sales. The team is available to assist with any research in the collections for the period covering 1894-1998.
The Images & Sounds team is responsible for acquiring, storing, documenting and providing access to the IOC’s photo, audiovisual and sound patrimony. The collections are significantly boosted after each edition of the Olympic Games, thanks to Olympic Broadcasting Services-produced video feed images, photos taken by IOC photographers and the Olympic Film. From competitions and the Closing Ceremony to behind-the- scenes shots and operations centres, the images of the Games are preserved in the archives. The digitally archived photo, video, film and sound collections can be accessed online by Olympic Movement stakeholders through the Olympic Multimedia Library (TOML).
Olympic Studies Centre
The IOC Olympic Studies Centre is the prime source of Olympic knowledge. Its mission is to share this knowledge by providing information, facilitating access to its unique archives and library, enabling research and promoting dialogue between the academic community and the Olympic Movement.
Culture and Education Hub
The OFCH Culture & Education Hub is the first point of contact, facilitating Olympic culture and education initiatives around the world. Every year, the Hub assists the organisers of hundreds of global projects with the development and production of exhibitions, displays, educational material and events. Do you need assistance with the design, content or implementation of your programme?