The International Olympic Committee was founded at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Prior to the ICO’s establishment by Pierre de Coubertin, the British physician Dr William Penny Brookes had established the Wenlock Olympian Games in the English market town of Much Wenlock. Although he always maintained that he had the idea of reviving the ancient Olympic Games for amateur athletes himself, Coubertin entered correspondence with Brookes and benefited from his connections with the Greek government.

Coubertin was the secretary general of the Union of French Sports Associations and first proposed establishing the modern games at its meeting on 25 November 1892. Although his enthusiasm was met with little more than general applause, Coubertin was not deterred and began to lay the groundwork for what was to become the first Olympic Congress at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1894.

Having initially invited participants to a meeting entitled ‘Reflections on and Propagation of the Principles of Amateurism’, Coubertin later changed the name to a ‘Congress on the Revival of the Olympic Games’. 79 delegates from 9 countries subsequently met at the Sorbonne, although Coubertin himself recognised that there still little enthusiasm for reviving the games.

Despite this, a vote was held at the final meeting of the congress on 23 June that established the International Olympic Committee. Coubertin was elected to the role of general secretary with the Greek businessman and writer Demetrios Vikelas as the first president. It was further agreed that the first modern Olympic Games would take place in Athens in 1896 with the second in Paris four years later. The IOC has remained responsible for the Olympic Games ever since.

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