Carl Diem

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games (non-medal events) • Administrator
Full nameCarl•Diem
Used nameCarl•Diem
Born24 June 1882 in Würzburg, Bayern (GER)
Died17 December 1962 in Köln (Cologne), Nordrhein-Westfalen (GER)
NOC Germany
Nationality West Germany


Carl Diem is one of the co-founders of the International Olympic Academy and is one of the most important writers and historians of the Olympic Movement, authoring dozens of books and articles on Olympism and the Olympic Movement. He studied at the University of Berlin, after which, from 1917-1933, he was secretary-general of the German Committee for Physical Education. In this capacity, he was Chef de Mission of the German Olympic teams in 1928 and 1932. He was secretary-general of the Organizing Committee of the 1936 Olympic Games and conceived the idea of the Olympic Torch Relay. From 1938-1944, at Pierre de Coubertin’s request, he served as Director of the International Olympic Institute in Berlin. After World War II, Diem was a sports consultant to the German government. A sports university was founded in his honor with Diem as founding rector, the Deutsche Sporthochschule in Cologne (Köln). After joining the NSDAP he was criticized for his close contacts to the Nazi regime.

His contribution to the 1952 Art Exhibition is listed in the Official Report as The Meaning of Games. It may have been the first section, titled Essence of Sport, of the book Essence and Teaching of Sport published by Diem in 1949.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1952 Summer Olympics Art Competitions GER FRG Carl Diem
Literature, Open (Olympic (non-medal)) AC

Organization roles

Role Organization Tenure NOC As
Secretary General Organisationskomitee für die XI. Olympiade Berlin 1936 GER Carl Diem

Olympic family relations