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Who was Pierre de Coubertin?

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Pierre de Coubertin

The following is a speech about the life and accomplishments of Pierre de Coubertin that was written by one of our Grade 5 students, Anthony Farthing:

Pierre de Coubertin by Anthony Farthing - Class 503

Good Morning fellow students and teachers, My name is Anthony farthing from Class 503 and I have been asked to speak to you today about Pierre de Coubertin. Of course all of you know that this is the name of our school and I am sure that a lot of you know that he is one of the reasons why we have the olympic games today. What I would like to do is tell you a little bit more about him and the work that he did for the Olympics.

Pierre de Coubertin is called the founder of the modern Olympics because he was the only one who organized the first olympics in 1896 in Athens, Greece. Actually these were not the first Olympic games, as they were based on the Olympic festivals of ancient Greece in which athletes competed against eachother. The idea that the Olympic games, should include celebrations such as the opening and closing ceremonies also came from him. And it was De Coubertin who believed that while the Olympics can encourage national pride, they should also be able to promote peace among nations and help prevent conflicts.

De Coubertin was from France and was part of a wealthy upper-class family who often enjoyed many types of sports. When he was young he participated in rowing, boxing and fencing. He was born on January 1, 1863 and was eight years old when he witnessed the defeat of France in a war with Russia. He believed that one of the reasons France lost that war was because of his nations's lack of physical fitness for the soldiers. He also read many British novels for boys which talked about the importance of physical strength. Because of this he believed that education should include not only lessons in class, but should also include a large focus on physical education.

After those first Olympics, De Coubertin took over the presidency of the International Olympic Committee (also known as the IOC) and kept that position unil 1924. During that time there were a total of seven summer Olympics and the first winder Olympics in 1924 in Chamoix, France. The first few Olympics after Greece were not that successful, but by the time he retired they were a great event like they are today. He died in 1937 and is buried in Lauzanne, Switzerland, the city where the IOC is based. However his heart is actually buried seperately in a monument near the ruins of ancient Olympia in Greece.

I hope you enjoyed this speech and have learned something that you did know know about this great man named Pierre de Coubertin.