Images & Sounds

The IOC’s Images & Sounds patrimony is composed of three collections:

  • The photographic collection
  • The audiovisual collection
  • The sound collection

Thanks to the ambitious patrimonial conservation programmes launched in the early 2000s, the IOC’s Images & Sounds collections are now preserved in the best possible conditions. The valuable historical items have been restored and conditioned to make them accessible to future generations.

Most of the collections have been digitised, archived and documented. These images are now accessible online to the IOC partners and the Olympic family. They may be used, for example, for exhibitions in Museums or research projects.

Photography

The photographic collections contain 800,000 images, the first dating from the 1896 Games in Athens.

These collections document:

  • the competitions at the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games
  • behind the scenes activities, Games operations and organisation,
  • the institutional activities of the IOC and its President,
  • the activities of The Olympic Museum.

Now composed mainly of digital images, the collections also contain more than 2,000 restored precious photoprints, 40 glass plates, around 20 historic albums and almost 1,300 postcards.

Audiovisual

Containing more than 47,000 hours of audiovisual content, the collection consists mainly of the televised coverage of the Olympic Games and the Olympic films fonds.

The Olympic Film collection spans from 1900, with images of the city of Paris, to 2018, with the Official Film of the Winter Games in PyeongChang. The scope of this collection makes it unique among sports film archives.

The film reels in the IOC’s patrimonial collection have been stored at the Cinemathèque Suisse, to ensure their long-term preservation. The first reels, the 1948 Games films, were transferred there in 1952. Today, more than 11,000 reels of film are stored in the best conditions and monitored by experts.

In 1996, the IOC began a vast programme to acquire and safeguard the Olympic films. After 20 years of painstaking research and restoration, 40 feature films, 60 short films and more than 1,000 hours of rushes covering the period from 1912 to 1998 have been added to our collections.

The television broadcast collection consists mostly of images of the competitions at the Olympic Games, and covers the period from 1960 to 2018. Until the Games in Beijing in 2008, these images came from the host broadcasters. Since then, the images produced by Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) are routed directly to our collections in Lausanne.

The rest of the audiovisual collection includes images of Games preparations, the Olympic torch relay, the IOC and The Olympic Museum’s institutional activities, and numerous interviews with Olympians.

Sounds

The IOC sound collection contains 8,500 hours of recordings mostly dedicated to the IOC institutional meetings. They bear witness to the rich institutional history of the IOC and are very helpful for the minute takers.

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