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Controversial Olympic visionary to get wax figure in Paris

Pierre de Coubertin, the controversial founder of the modern Olympic Games, will have his own wax figure in Paris, the Grevin Museum has announced in the run-up to the sporting extravaganza.

The wax likeness of the French baron, who was born in Paris in 1863, will be unveiled at the famed museum in July, before the start of the Olympic Games on July 26.

The figure is being produced in the museum’s workshops in the French capital’s 13th district.

The French aristocrat was a champion of sport in education and proposed a revival of the ancient Olympic Games in 1894.

The first edition of the modern Games was held in Athens in 1896, with more than 200 male athletes from 14 countries taking part.

Coubertin died in Switzerland in 1937 at the age of 74, a year after the Olympic Games organised by Nazi Germany, which he had not attended.

The baron is now seen as a controversial figure due to his racist and misogynistic views.

Coubertin described himself as a “fanatical colonialist” and believed that women should be excluded from the Olympic Games.

Limits on female participation reflected the prejudices of the era, including that sportswomen could lose their femininity or become sterile.

He argued that an Olympics with women would be “impractical, uninteresting (and) unaesthetic”.

Coubertin said a year before his death: “The only real Olympic hero is the individual male athlete. Therefore, no women’s, no team, sport.”

A descendant of Coubertin argued he was a man of his time and his views had evolved throughout his life.

“We reduce him to writings that are shocking from today’s perspective,” Diane de Navacelle de Coubertin told French daily Le Parisien. 

“At the time, they were not shocking.”

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