Pierre de Coubertin (born Charles Pierre Fredy de Coubertin), Baron de Coubertin, born January 1, 1863 in Paris and died September 2, 1937 in Geneva, Switzerland, was a French historian and pedagogue strongly influenced by Anglo-Saxon culture who particularly campaigned for the introduction of sport in French schools.
In this context, he took part in the emergence and development of sport in France from the end of the 19th century before being the renovator of the Olympic Games of the modern era in 1894 and founding the International Olympic Committee, of which he is the president from 1896 to 1925. During this period, he draws the Olympic rings and installs the headquarters of the IOC in Lausanne in 1915 where he creates a museum and a library. He also campaigned for the creation of the Winter Olympics, the first edition of which took place in Chamonix in 1924.
His interest in the educational field did not go without putting him in competition with the proponents of gymnastics and physical education, closer to the concerns of the Third Republic. His interest in pedagogical innovations across the Channel cannot leave him untouched by the development of French lay scouting either, and he participates in its emergence, again in a context of conflict.
His legendary humanist dimension, finally, is disputed by researchers who, with supporting texts but not without anachronism, detect in him a colonial spirit tinged with racism and an asserted misogyny. However, recent studies seem to give more nuanced opinions. Coubertin is also known for all of his written work, divided between important educational works, most often closely related to sports practices, and historical and political works.
The Fredy family is originally from Rome, Italy. It was in his properties, located on the site of the former gardens of Nero, that the Laocoön group was found on January 14, 1506. Pope Julius II acquires it by granting Felice de Fredis the lifetime levy of the taxes of the San Giovanni gate in Rome.
The founder of the French branch of the Fredy family, originally from Rome, is Alphonse Fredy, listed before 1523, as the king's lawyer, in the bailiwick of Montfort-Lamaury. His grandson, Jean Fredy (1593-1677), squire, Lord of Coubertin, was a lawyer in the Parliament of Paris. He bought land from Coubertin in Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse. He was ennobled by letter patent in 1629 and maintained in the nobility in 1668. The Coubertin family's coat of arms is an azure shield with nine gold shells (3, 3, 2 and 1) and its motto Voir loin, parle frank, act firm.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin is the son of Charles Fredy, Baron de Coubertin (1822-1908), painter in Paris, decorated with the Legion of Honor for his work in 1865, and Agathe Marie-Marcelle Gigault de Crisenoy , heiress of the castle of Mirville (Seine-Maritime), in Normandy, where Pierre spent his childhood.
The two descendants of Pierre de Coubertin and his wife, Marie Rothan (1862-1963), Jacques (1896-1952) and Renée (1902-1968), natives of Lausanne, remained unmarried. The Fredy de Coubertin family was part of the surviving families of the French nobility in 2007 through a cousin branch of that of Baron de Coubertin who settled in Brittany.
Born on January 1, 1863 at no. 20 rue Oudinot, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, Pierre de Coubertin studied from 1874 to 1881 with the Jesuits of the Saint-Ignace school, rue de Madrid, where he seemed destined to the profession of arms. He passed his baccalaureate in letters in 1880 and in science in 1881. Eligible for Saint-Cyr, he then ruled out a military career and enrolled in 1882 at the École libre des sciences politiques, where he obtained the title of bacheli.