The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is led by a president, who is elected by the IOC Session, and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the IOC. Until the 1950s, the IOC President was effectively elected for life. But in the 1950s the IOC established the policy that the president is elected for an initial eight-year term, and can be re-elected indefinitely for four-year terms after that. In 1999, this rule was changed to limit the IOC President to two terms, or a maximum of 12 years in office.
Over the course of its history since 1894, the IOC has been led by 9 Presidents, or perhaps 10, depending on one’s interpretation. The original President was Demetrios Vikelas of Greece, who was elected at the 1894 Sorbonne IOC Congress, on the suggestion of Pierre de Coubertin, who felt that the IOC President should be from the first host country of the Olympic Games. De Coubertin succeeded Vikelas in 1896, and served as IOC President until 1924, when he was, in turn, succeeded by Belgium’s Count Henri de Baillet-Latour. But from December 1915 to February 1917, de Coubertin served in the French military. He asked Switzerland’s Baron Godefroy de Blonay to serve as interim IOC President, as he did not feel that a military person should be the acting IOC President. Some historians do not consider de Blonay to have been a true President of the IOC. De Ballet-Latour served until his death in 1942, and the position was technically vacant until 1946, but Sweden’s Sigfrid Edström, the IOC Vice-President at that time, performed the duties during the interregnum, and he was elected IOC President in 1946, serving until 1952, when he was succeeded by Avery Brundage of the United States. Brundage served until 1972, at the time the second longest term as IOC President, and he was followed by Ireland’s Michael Morris, the Lord Killanin. Lord Killanin was President until 1980, when Spain’s Juan Antonio Samaranch was elected IOC president. Samaranch’s term lasted until 2001, a slightly longer term than Brundage, when he was succeeded by the Belgian orthopaedic surgeon, Jacques Rogge. Rogge was the first term-limited President, serving the maximum period of 12 years, when he was succeeded in 2013 by former Olympic fencer Thomas Bach from Germany.