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Pierre de Coubertin's founding text donated to Olympic museum

Russian billionaire Usmanov bought the 14-page manifesto at auction in New York in December for $8.8 million, a new auction world record for an item of sports memorabilia.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach (R) enters next to a bust representing IOC founder Pierre de Coubertin prior to an executive board meeting at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, on 3 December 2019. Picture: AFP

LAUSANNE - The original Olympic Games manifesto written in 1892 by Pierre de Coubertin has been donated to the International Olympic Committee by owner Alisher Usmanov, president of the international fencing federation.

Russian billionaire Usmanov bought the 14-page manifesto at auction in New York in December for $8.8 million, a new auction world record for an item of sports memorabilia.

Coubertin outlined his vision for reviving the ancient Olympic Games as a new, international competition in the manifesto.

He argued that athletic endeavour had benefits for individuals and society.

The manuscript is the only known copy of the speech which Coubertin delivered in Paris in 1892.

Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee two years later and the first modern Games took place in 1896 in Athens.

"Your generosity is making this unique moment possible, a moment that reminds us so vividly of the mission of the Olympic Games to unite the world in peaceful competition," IOC president said in a word of thanks to Usmanov.

"It is thanks to your generosity that we can reflect on our history today and celebrate this direct link to our founding father."

Uzbek-born Usmanov, 66, made his fortune in the metals and mining industry, before expanding into telecommunications, technology and media.

The 66-year-old, a former shareholder at English Premier League club Arsenal and currently linked with buying a stake in Everton, became head of the international fencing federation in 2008.