The Origins of the Exclusion of Tennis from the Olympic Games

A Multiform Institutional Conflict of the 1920s
By Florence Carpentier

Tennis, due to its popularity at the end of the 19th century, was immediately part of the first Olympic games in 1896. Nevertheless, it was dropped from the Olympic competition in 1927 because of a complex and serious conflict between the International Olympic Committee and the International Tennis Federation. It only reappeared as a medal sport in the Olympics at Seoul, in 1988. This paper provides explanations to this conflict in the particular context of the twenties and presents its main actors: Henri de Baillet-Latour, president of the IOC, and Albert Canet, president of the International Tennis Federation. Whereas the issue of amateurism was put forward, other unspoken stakes—commercial and economic, symbolic and social—can be discovered in correspondences. Most of all, this conflict between the two institutions symbolized the main interests of the world sport movement during the interwar period.


    Go to the article on