"It was interesting that before submitting to the Olympic god of her choice, the girl would request her partner's Olympic badge. In case of pregnancy, she would give this badge to state or Red Cross maternities to prove the Olympic origin of her baby. Then the state would pay for the whole works."
Dr. Martin said that since Aryan racial improvement was apparently the object of the young ladies' affections, they avoided blacks and seemed to favor white Americans, Scandinavians, Dutchmen and, of course, Germans. Dr. Martin had been at the Games in Los Angeles in 1932 and he recalled, "Very pretty girls with big automobiles would turn up at the Olympic Village there, too, to try and meet the athlete of their choice. But there, obviously, race improvement was decidedly not the prime incentive."
"I HEREBY ASSERT MY CLAIMS FOR BEING SOLE AUTHOR OF THE WHOLE PROJECT"
In his waning years Baron Pierre de Coubertin was often seen by the citizens of Lausanne rowing on Lake Geneva, a small and melancholy figure bending and pulling, bending and pulling, propelling himself in slow circles upon the water. He was quite poor now, his ancient family fortune spent.
The baron, his wife Marie and their daughter Ren�e lived in a hotel suite paid for by the municipality of Lausanne. His wife refused to give him even a few sous for pocket money. His daughter had come to be what relatives called "funny." Since late childhood, Renee had been forced by her mother to wear masculine clothing and was forbidden to use powder or rouge. This, relatives agreed, was a result of the guilt Mme, Coubertin felt over the bizarre tragedy that befell an infant son many years before. The boy had been two years old when his mother left him exposed for several hours beneath a fierce summer sun. When he was found, he had suffered sunstroke, and though he lived several years more he never again showed the faintest sign of human intelligence.
"The baron was very disillusioned, very sad at the end of his life," his great-nephew Geoffrey de Navacelle recalled recently. "Remember, in 1914 the Olympics were in their infancy when war broke out. No one believed the Olympic ideal could stop war then. But by 1936 my uncle realized that even a full-grown Olympics could never be the means to world peace that he had been searching for. He was quite distraught. Things had not gone as he intended."
The Associated Press reported that the Baron de Coubertin died "of a stroke of apoplexy," while strolling in a public park of Geneva on Sept. 2, 1937. He was 74. In his will he asked that his body be buried in Lausanne, where the headquarters of the IOC is located. But first, his heart was to be removed from his breast, encased in a marble column and interred at Olympia in Greece.
Marie did not die until 1963, when she was 101 years old. She was buried, intact, in Lausanne.
Pierre de Coubertin had grown up in a castle at Saint-R�my-l�s-Chevreuse, in a town house at 20 Rue Oudinot in Paris, and in a seaside ch�teau near Le Havre. The family title dated back to the reign of Louis XI. When Pierre was 16, his family made a pilgrimage to Frohsdorf, Austria, where they paid clandestine homage to the pretender to the French throne, the man they believed to be King Henry V. Pierre was appalled at what he saw—a shattered and rheumy-eyed bit of human wreckage. The folly of waiting for this old crock to dash into Paris and seize France was too much for Pierre. He rejected his family's politics and eventually came to refer to himself as a "revolutionary." In time, he would even be called a socialist. Of course, he was not. For all of his life the baron's warmest and most influential friends in Olympic and personal matters were counts and archdukes and princes and extremely rich men.
The baron was quite tiny, barely 5'3". Early in life he cultivated a fine, sweeping mustache. He wore it all his life and it turned snow white when he grew old in Lausanne. The baron did not indulge greatly in competitive sport. Mostly he rowed or rode. He wrote endlessly. He loved flowers, music and drawing-room chatter. He cut an impressive figure at the podium, despite a high voice which had obviously traveled the full length of his nose (it was the nose of a much taller man) before it arrived in public. But with all the words he delivered, it is odd that the most famous quotation attributed to him was not of his own creation: "The important thing is not winning hut taking part...." De Coubertin said it countless times, but he seized upon it only after he had heard it said in 1908 by the Bishop of Pennsylvania.