Historical Archives

The IOC’s Historical Archives section is responsible for acquiring, preserving and disseminating the documents produced and received by the IOC in the framework of its activities, as well as the private collections, including that of its founder, the Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

The archive collections represent more than a kilometre of text documents which cover the evolution of the IOC and the Olympic Movement, from their creation in 1894 to today.

This unique Olympic memory is divided into main series which reflect how the IOC is organised and operates:

  • The IOC Presidents
    This series includes the working documents, speeches, writings and correspondence of the IOC Presidents, from Demetrius Vikelas to Juan Antonio Samaranch. The Pierre de Coubertin archives are among the most significant and valuable in the series. Through his almost daily correspondence with his colleagues and friends, it is possible to follow the development, concerns and ideas of the founder of the modern Games.

  • The Olympic Games
    In parallel with the growth and development of the Olympic Games, the volume of archives has grown exponentially with each Olympiad. From the first modern Games in Athens in 1896 to today (the most recent Games documentation accessible to the public in 2018 relates to those in Nagano, held in 1998), this series covers the course of these events thanks to the diversity and richness of the documents conserved. The cities bidding to host the Games are also part of this series, which includes the candidature files, correspondence and promotional material for the cities elected and those not chosen.

  • Relations with the Olympic Movement (NOCs, IFs and other federations)
    It is through its relations with national and international sports and non-sports organisations that the IOC has created a global network. These series of documents include correspondence with the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), which dates back to 1894 and tells the story of the creation of the NOCs through requests for recognition, statutes and regulations, the creation of an executive board, various publications and the emblem of each NOC, of which there are currently 199. The International Sports Federations (IFs) series is also rich in information on the development of certain sports, how rules have changed, the homologation of records, their role and their relations with the IOC since its creation.

Olympic Games Berlin 1936: programmes and advertising in Japanese for Leni Riefenstahl’s Official Film, “Olympia 1936”

The other main series consist of the archives of the IOC’s decision-making and advisory bodies and its administration, important sources of official information, which recount the history and development of the organisation from its origins to the present day.

Consultation procedure

The IOC Historical Archives are open to the public at the Olympic Studies Centre, next to The Olympic Museum in Lausanne. You can access the following documents: 

  • Documents more than 20 years old which are not subject to particular restrictions
  • Executive Board and commission documents which are more than 30 years old and are no longer subject to particular restrictions

Download the complete consultation rules here

Arrange your visit

You can arrange to consult the archives by completing this form
The archives study room is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Monday to Friday.  
The archive files and the digital versions of certain series can be consulted in our study room (in accordance with the access rules).

Read the full consultation rules here.


Olympic Studies Centre
Villa du Centenaire 
Avenue de l’Elysée 28 
1001 Lausanne 
Contact: archives@olympic.org