REPORT ON THE QUADRENNIAL MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF OLYMPIC HISTORIANS
By David Wallechinsky
On the afternoon of 4th August 2016, the International Society of Olympic Historians (ISOH) held its Quadrennial Meeting in a press conference room at the Main Press Centre in Rio de Janeiro, the day before the Opening Ceremony. About 40 members and others attended, including members of the press. Coverage was included in The Wall Street Journal and El Economista.
After a brief introduction by President David Wallechinsky, homage was paid to those ISOH members who died since the last quadrennial meeting. They are:
Georgy Demetr (1923-2012; Russia)
John Apostel Lucas (1927-2012; USA)
Naomi Beinart(-2013; South Africa)
Vladimir Rodichenko (1931-2013; Russia)
David Young (1937-2013; USA)
Patricia Henry Yeomans (1917-2103; USA)
Lionel Peters (1937-2013; Great Britain)
Karl Lennartz (1940-2014; Germany)
Tibor Ivanics (1937-2014; Hungary)
Regnier “Pim”Huurman (1934-2014; Netherlands)
Peter Daland (1921-2014; USA)
Gosse Blom (1946-2014; Netherlands)
Mary Alison Glen-Haig (1918-2014; Great Britain)
June Becht (1929-2014; USA)
Harry Gordon (1925-2015; Australia)
Monique Berlioux (1923-2015; France)
Alan Zell (1930-2015; USA)
Markku Siukonen (1948-2015; Finland)
Jacobus “Jaco” Treurniet (1933-2016; Netherlands)
Since many ISOH members are statisticians, it may be worth noting that the average age of members who passed away was 83.
25th Anniversary Celebration
A gathering to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ISOH will be held in London on 3rd December 2016. It will take place at the Victory Service Club (63-79 Seymour Street; London W2 2HF) from 14.00 until 17.00. Richard Pound will be the keynote speaker. All ISOH members are invited.
Outgoing Secretary-General Anthony Th. Bijkerk reported that ISOH now has more than 450 members from 55 nations.
David Wallechinsky reported that ISOH members have been working closely with the IOC to make available to the public an encyclopedia that would include all results from all Olympic Games since 1896 (and as many as are known from the Ancient Games). In addition, he explained that he has been working with the IOC’s Words of Olympians project by conducting extended video interviews of Olympic athletes who are now older than 75. His most recent interview was with Alex Tarics (water polo, Hungary, 1936), the oldest surviving champion in Olympics history. Mr. Tarics died, at the age of 102, two months after the interview.
Also, at IOC President Thomas Bach’s request, ISOH members compiled a list of Olympians and other participants who died during the Olympic Games. This information was used to create a memorial inside the Athletes’ Village in Rio de Janeiro.
The ISOH has upgraded its website thanks, in particular, to the work of webmaster (and ISOH member) Mark Maestrone. Another ISOH member, Nicholas Wolaver, has been helping promote ISOH through social media.
The results of the latest ISOH election were announced. David Wallechinsky and Christian Wacker were re-elected as President and Vice-President respectively. Markus Osterwalder was elected the new Secretary-General and Laurel A. Grasso Zeisler the new Treasurer. Volker Kluge, Philip Barker, Kostas Georgiadis and Leif Yttergren were re-elected to the Executive Committee. The complete results are available on the ISOH website.
Outgoing ISOH Treasurer John Grasso reported that during the four-year period from 1st January 2012 to 31st December 2015, the ISOH bank account decreased from $86,039.83 to $82,884.52, primarily as a result of the shrinking value of the pound and euro against the U.S. dollar. ISOH maintains accounts in the United States and Germany. Revenues come primarily from membership fees and annual subventions (subsidies) provided by the IOC. Our major expense is the production and shipping of the Journal of Olympic History, which is sent to members, as well as all IOC Members, all National Olympic Committees and all International Sports Federations. Financial details are available upon request.
Journal of Olympic History
Journal editor Volker Kluge reminded members that the Journal of Olympic History, which ISOH publishes three times a year, has become more colorful not just in design presentation, but in content, with the hope that it will appeal to a wider audience of readers. He thanked the editorial team and especially the authors, without whom the Journal could not exist. All of these people work on the Journal as volunteers, like everyone else who works for ISOH.
Proposed Executive Committee Changes
Vice-President Christian Wacker presented a proposal that was discussed at the most recent meeting of the Executive Committee in May. The four non-officers would have specific functions, namely Journal editor, webmaster, marketing and awards vetting. It has also been proposed that these positions be filled by the Executive Committee.
Presentation of Lifetime Achievement Award
The annual ISOH Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Lamartine DaCosta of Brazil. DaCosta was the founder and first President of the Brazil National Olympic Academy and a member of the Research Council of the IOC’s Olympic Studies Centre. He has published numerous books, lectured widely and helped dozens of young scholars with their work. Indeed, the aid he has given so many students and others may be his greatest legacy.
John Grasso was awarded ISOH Honorary Membership for his indispensable role in the development of the International Society of Olympic Historians and for his contribution as treasurer for twelve years (2004-2016).
Another special honour was awarded to Anthony Bijkerk. In 1991, he was invited to ISOH’s founding meeting. Although he was unable to attend this meeting, he was made a member of the Executive Committee of the ISOH. He served as editor of the Journal of Olympic History from 1996 until 2002 and as Secretary-General for twenty years (1996-2016). Among his many achievements, Bijkerk published Olympisch Oranje – Van Athene 1896 tot en met London 2012, the first book containing full data on all the participants from one nation.
Our President read a short address on behalf of Tony Bijkerk who noted that during his tenure as Secretary-General, ISOH membership has more than doubled from 190 members to more than 450. He concluded by expressing “the hope that the future of the International Society of Olympic Historians may continue to be bright, informative, innovative and above all that it will grow into a fully respected body of Olympic historians accepted everywhere. I wish my successor, Markus Osterwalder, every success possible, and I hope that he will enjoy the job as much as I have.”