Pierre de Coubertin

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Pierre Frédy, Baron de Coubertin (French pronunciation: [pjɛʁ də kubɛʁtɛ̃]; 1 January 1863 – 2 September 1937) was a French pedagogue and historian, founder of the International Olympic Committee, and considered father of the modern Olympic Games. Born into a French aristocratic family, he became an academic and studied a broad range of topics, most notably education and history.

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Early life

Pierre Frédy was born in Paris on 1 January 1863 into an established aristocratic family.[1] He was the fourth child of Baron Charles Louis Frédy, Baron de Coubertin and Marie-Marcelle Gigault de Crisenoy.[2] Family tradition held that the Frédy name had first arrived in France in the early 15th century, and the first recorded title of nobility granted to the family was given by Louis XI to an ancestor, also named Pierre de Frédy, in 1477. But other branches of his family tree delved even further into French history, and the annals of both sides of his family included nobles of various stations, military leaders, and associates of kings and princes of France.[3]

His father Charles was a staunch royalist and accomplished artist whose paintings were displayed and given prizes at the Parisian salon, at least in those years when he was not absent in protest of the rise to power of Louis Napoleon. His paintings often centered around themes related to the Roman Catholic Church, classicism, and nobility, which reflected those things he thought most important.[4] In a later semi-fictional autobiographical piece called Le Roman d'un rallié, Coubertin describes his relationship with both his mother and his father as having been somewhat strained during his childhood and adolescence. His memoirs elaborated further, describing as a pivotal moment his disappointment upon meeting Henri, Count of Chambord, who the elder Coubertin believed to be the rightful king.[5]

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