Polish Olympic Committee

The founding convention of the Polish Olympic Committee was held on 12 October 1919 in Hotel Francuski in Kraków. The main goal of the Committee was to send the National Team to the Olympic Games in 1920. Until 1924, the organisation’s official name was the Polish Committee of the Olympic Games. Prince Stefan Lubomirski became its first President, while Józef Piłsudski, the Head of State, took patronage over it.

The outbreak of the Polish-Soviet war in 1919 interrupted preparations to the Antwerp Games. Polish Team made its debut at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. The 66‑person team won two medals. Four track cyclists - Józef Lange, Jan Łazarski, Tomasz Stankiewicz and Franciszek Szymczyk - scored second in the 4 km Team Pursuit acquiring silver, while Lieutenant Adam Królikiewicz finished third in Jumping competition on the "Picador" horse. Halina Konopacka became the first athlete to win an Olympic gold medal for Poland in discus throwing in 1928 in Amsterdam.

Along with sport achievements came the success of Polish artists and composers taking part in the Olympic Art Competitions. Poles won 8 medals, including 3 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze.

In the years 1928-39 Poland was represented in the International Olympic Committee by its two members: Ignacy Matuszewski and General Stanisław Rouppert. Moreover, Warsaw was granted the organization of the 1937 and 1969 IOC sessions.

After the war, in 1946, Eng. Alfred Loth became head of the Polish Olympic Committee. The main goal of the POC was to prepare and send a team to the Olympic Games. A modest team which brought a single bronze medal, was sent to London.

In 1969, the Polish Olympic Committee celebrated its 50th anniversary. President of the IOC, Mr. Avery Brundage, joined the celebrations. Another, 60th anniversary of the POC in 1979, was honored by the presence of Lord Killanin. And finally, we hosted Mr. Juan Antonio Samaranch on the 70th anniversary in 1989 and the 80th anniversary in 1999 of the POC in Poland.

The most important goals of the Polish Olympic Committee are: to propagate Olympism, prepare the National Team for the Olympics and cooperate with the IOC. Regional Councils and Olympians’ Clubs operate in different locations around Poland. Additionally, there exist twenty POC’s Commissions, engaging around 500 volunteers. The Polish Olympic Foundation, established in 1993, dealt with fundraising. Thanks to the funds it had raised, Polish athletes successfully participated in the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. At present, the POC’s Marketing Department performs the functions of the POF.

In recent years, for the first time in history, a Polish city applied for the organization of the Olympics. Zakopane has submitted its candidacy to conduct the 2006 Winter Olympic Games having as rivals: the Swiss city of Sion, the Italian city of Torino, the Austrian city of Klagenfurt, Helsinki and the Slovak city of Poprad. At the IOC session in Seoul on 19 June 1999 Torino was chosen as the host of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.

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