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VIKELAS Demetrius - Greece / IOC
It is often assumed that Pierre de Coubertin, who revived the Olympic tradition by founding the modern Olympic games, was the first president of the IOC. In fact the first president was a Greek, Demetrius Vikelas.Vikelas, who was designated for the job by Coubertin, was a tradesman, a close friend of the royal family of Greece, was cultivated and spoke many languages, stood up for the idea that Athens should host the games in 1896, and managed to persuade the international community.Vikelas was only president of the IOC for two years, after which he passed the torch on to his friend Coubertin who had to organize the Paris games in 1900.His short tenure as head of the Olympic movement probably explains why he is so little known, yet without Vikelas the modern games might never have existed.He was scholarly and a passionate lover of everything Greek, and wrote many books including two on the history of Greece. Demetirus Vikelas died in 1908.
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