Demetrios Vikelas

Demetrios Vikelas was born in 1835 in Syros, one of the Greek islands of the Aegean, and died in 1908 in Athens. He was a merchant in London, but since literature was his real love, he soon became a well-known writer.

In 1894, he took the initiative of establishing the modern Olympic Games. After becoming a member of the Panhellenic Gymnastic Society in Athens, he represented the Society in the International Athletic Congress of 1894 held in Paris. There, he made a speech suggesting that Athens should be the site of the First International Olympic Games to be held in 1896.

"I claimed Greece's rights with regard to the re-establishment of a Greek institution. Indeed, as Victor Hugo put it, the whole civilized world has a common grandmother, but we [the Greeks] have her as our mother. So we are in a way the uncles of the rest of the peoples. Here is our only advantage, if it is an advantage. Here is the source of my request that the restored Olympic Games be inaugurated on our Greek soil".

After the acceptance of the proposition, Athens became the site of the first institutionalised Olympic Games and Vikelas became the first president of the new-born International Olympic Committee.

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