Since the beginning of Olympic Games’ history, the international composition of the IOC reflected Coubertin’s universal ambitions with the Olympic Movement. He foresaw that the IOC would maintain a group of individuals that self-recruited new members who could contribute to the global development of the Olympic Movement. According to Coubertin, the IOC members needed to be politically independent, could afford their own travel expenses to IOC meetings and had a respected social status within their countries. As a consequence, the IOC membership mainly consisted of individuals with a European, aristocratic background during the first two decades of its existence. There were a few exceptions: Cuff from New Zealand was amongst the first IOC members in 1894 and represented Australasia, in 1909 Japanese educator Kano Jigoro became the first IOC member from Asia, and in 1910 the Greek Angelo Bolanaki, who also had an Egyptian passport, became the first African IOC member.The first regulations on the recruitment of IOC members appear in the first Olympic Charter, published in 1908. Therein, the self-recruiting process is determined and the independence of each member is emphasised. The presidential term was set for 10 years with the possibility of re-election. Coubertin essentially ran the organisation by himself in collaboration with the respective departments established in the respective host cities for the organisation of the Olympic Games.More information: coubertin.org/pierre-de-coubertin/.
PHOTO: Olympic Charter 1908 (CIPC).