By Dikaia Chatziefstathiou;Ian P. Henry
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Extra resources for Discourses of Olympism: From the Sorbonne 1894 to London 2012
The fact that, the members of the IOC were expected to pay their travel expenses and to contribute ﬁnancially to the costs of the IOC for promoting Olympism, meant that such an organisation could only function if its members were wealthy and had free time for IOC work (Toohey and Veal 2000). Consequently, wealth and social status, combined with enthusiasm for the rebirth of the Games, were the criteria for choosing the members (Guttmann 1992). The ﬁrst thirteen members of the Committee were from the leisured classes: the upper and upper-middle classes, the military aristocracy, wealthy tradesmen and diplomats, the so-called ‘haute bourgeoisie’ (Boulogne 1999a).
Their relatively poor performances in sports with which they were not familiar were popularly regarded as conﬁrmation of the theory of white superiority (Goksøyr 1991; cited in Krüger 1999: 8). The Discursive Construction of Modern Olympic Histories 31 After the Games in St. Louis, the Olympic movement faced a major crisis and some argued that ‘it was close to disaster’ (Guttmann 1992: 27). The situation became more difﬁcult when Rome withdrew from hosting the Games in 1906 and the IOC turned to Britain for assistance.
Coubertin countered this argument by emphasising that his own project was different, because it was international and not limited to drawing athletes from the Greek world. However, this argument failed to persuade his rivals and those who were suspicious of his plans and ambitions. 1 Baron Pierre de Coubertin Coubertin, like many other Frenchmen, wanted to avenge France’s defeat and the loss of its provinces of Alsace and Lorraine in the Franco-Prussian war. As a descendant of an aristocratic family, Coubertin might have felt a special responsibility ‘to seek revanche for the debacle at Sedan’ (Guttmann 1992: 8).
Discourses of Olympism: From the Sorbonne 1894 to London 2012 by Dikaia Chatziefstathiou;Ian P. Henry