Series on Olympic Congresses: Paris 1914

In 1914 the Olympic Congress was held in Paris for the third time, returning to the Sorbonne to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Olympic movement. It was an especially festive Congress with sports demonstrations, plays, musical performances and receptions while the motif of the Olympic Rings, designed for the occasion, was unveiled. But Paris 1914 was also a turning point for the Olympic Congress as for the first time NOCs were represented and the IFs were knocking loudly at the door.

Clarification of responsibilities
The reason for the increased interest from the international sporting community was a desire to establish a uniform programme for future Olympic Games, with binding rules and a clarification of responsibilities. Until then conditions for participation had been the preserve of the local Organising Committees, which inevitably resulted in misunderstandings and home advantage. This Congress led to the decision that athletes had to abide by the amateur regulations of their respective IF, and that the NOCs would be responsible for guaranteeing the amateur status of an athlete.

First technical Congress
A programme of obligatory and optional events for future Games was also outlined, while other resolutions included the abolition of an age limit for participation and the rejection of a proposal to admit women to athletics events – women were to be restricted to tennis and swimming. Generally, however, the Congress of 1914, the first genuinely technical Congress, was satisfying. The responsibilities of the NOCs and IFs started to become clearer, while the authority of the IOC remained unchallenged.

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