ISOH members met at the Fondation Coubertin Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse ©Pavlos Wacker

The International Society of Olympic Historians (ISOH), a group that promotes Olympic history has celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Coubertin family estate just outside Paris with a call for younger people to become involved.

ISOH President Christian Wacker insisted: "We want to have a new and younger generation of Olympic historians."

From an original membership of around 30 in the first year, the group now boasts 464 members and is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which supports the publication of a  journal three times a year.

"We are getting more and more members every year," said secretary Markus Osterwalder.

The meeting was attended by Yvan and Diane de Navacelle de Coubertin, both descendants of the Olympic founder, Pierre de Coubertin, and was held at the Fondation Coubertin, the former family estate now endowed as a "craftsman’s university" with a foundry and facilities for sculpture and metalwork.

The meeting was streamed live for those who were unable to attend because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is the first time that we have had a hybrid meeting," Wacker said.

"It is based on the concept that many organisations have not been able to meet in person for such a long time."

The society was founded in 1991 after an informal gathering at a West London public house by a small group of Olympic enthusiasts from around the world.

The prize for the lifetime award is a bust of Pierre de Coubertin ©ITG
The prize for the lifetime award is a bust of Pierre de Coubertin ©ITG

 American Bill Mallon, was a founding member. 

"There were six of us that were sending letters back and forth about Olympic history," Mallon told insidethegames.

“We started talking about an organisation of Olympic historians. 

"We knew there were other people who were doing the same thing, so we could form a network and exchange information. 

"There were only eight people at the original meeting so it has come quite a way since then."

Mallon has been a  prolific Olympic author and was also a driving force in establishing Olympedia, a website containing the most comprehensive database of Olympic results.

He was a recipient of the ISOH Lifetime Achievement award, which was also presented to German academic Norbert Muller, one of the authors of the three-volume IOC Official History and an Olympic scholar for over 50 years.

A posthumous award was made to Walter Troger, the honorary IOC member who died in 2020. 

He was a longtime Olympic official who had been mayor of the Olympic Village at the ill-fated 1972 Munich Olympics.