Olympic Games are the world's most important international athletic competition. The Olympics bring together thousands of the finest athletes to compete against one another in a variety of individual and team sports.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the supreme authority of the Olympic Movement. Its role is to promote top-level sport as well as sport for all in accordance with the Olympic Charter. The IOC defines itself as an international non-governmental organisation. The IOC "decided to revive the concept of the Olympic Truce on the occasion of the Olympic Games, with a view to protecting, as far as possible, the interests of the athletes and sport in general, and to contribute to the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the world’s conflicts."

The ancient Greeks held the first Olympic games in the year 776 BC; they dedicated the games to their god Zeus – only men were allowed to participate. The four-year period between the Olympic games was called an olympiad. The Olympic games were banned by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II in the year AD 394.

Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin (1863-1937), a French educator and sportsman, revived the Olympic Games in 1896; the all-male 1896 games were held in Athens, Greece. The Olympic motto is, "Citius, Altius, Fortius," which means "Swifter, Higher, Stronger." The tradition of the Olympic flame began during the ancient Olympic Games. The flame symbolized the death and rebirth of Greek heroes. There was no torch relay in the ancient Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, originally founded by the IOC, provides ad hoc divisions to hear urgent disputes arising out of every Olympic Games. In CAS ad hoc Division arbitration, the governing law is the Olympic Charter, the applicable regulations, general principles of law and the rules of law, the application of which it deems appropriate. The development of lex sportiva by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and International Sports Federations (IFs) is shaping the nature and scope of legal protection of the athlete’s opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on the Olympic Games. It provides the basic materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's subject headings (keywords) xxx are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.





UN Declarations and Resolutions

Soft law

Selected books and articles