President's welcome message

Dear Friends, 

On the  April 26th, in a crowded Panathenaic stadium, a unique journey of hope and pride that has illuminated the whole of Greece from one end to the other came to an end.

A path full of inspiration and symbolism that united the hearts and eyes of us all and reminded us of the principles that have real value.

Solidarity, exchange of ideas, peace, fair play.

And it lasted exactly 11 days.

11 days, allow me to say, literally magical.

Since it was lit in Olympia on April 16 until today, the Olympic flame has traveled more than 5,200 kilometers and 500 nautical miles on its way through Greece, visiting more than 40 cities.

From western Greece and Corfu to the easternmost point of the country, the untouched Kastelorizo. And from the south with Crete to the north with Thessaloniki and Alexandroupoli.

And her reception was truly admirable in each of the regions it passed through, in each city, in each province.

With traditional but also contemporary performances, gatherings, spontaneous expressions of enthusiasm and joy, each place has been inspired and has done its best to rise to the heights of the Olympic values. And they were successful!

The squares, the streets, every region of Greece that received this eternal symbol, the flame, were stretched out to receive even more people, young and old, torchbearers, spectators, participants and observers, residents and visitors.

And I can say with certainty: the soul of the Greeks has risen to the highest level of pride and emotion.

And yet these 11 days that have captivated our country and captured the attention of the whole world are just the beginning of a great journey. That of the next Olympic Games in Paris 2024.

It is therefore with great joy and emotion that we all welcomed the Olympic flame together here at the Panathenaic Stadium at the end of the torch relay on Greek soil, to hand it over to the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee with a feeling of respect and solidarity, but also accompanied by our best wishes for the realization of a unique event.

An event that will succeed in bringing the Olympic ideals to the whole world once again, but which will above all bring people together on a path of peace, solidarity and tolerance. Messages that are timelessly relevant, but are urgently needed today, as the challenges are visible now.


Spyros I. Capralos

President, Hellenic Olympic Committee

IOC Members

President, European Olympic Committees

About Us

The mission of the HOC is to oversee and act to ensure the development, promotion and safeguarding of the Olympic Movement, the spirit of fair play and out-of-school physical activity, in accordance with the principles of the Olympic Ideal and the traditions of the Hellenic sport. The HOC’s role is: To supervise the Olympic Sports and cooperate with the State as well as with the public and private bodies for the promotion of healthy sport policies. To encourage love for sports and respect for the spirit of sportsmanship among the young. To organise in cooperation with the National Federations the Olympic preparation of athletes. To proceed, on its sole responsibility, to the final selection of athletes who will represent Greece at the Olympic and Mediterranean Games.

Regarding the selection of athletes who represent Greece, the decision of the HOC with Ref. No. 40/15-12-1987, was a landmark. Following the proposal of Mr. Ioannis Papadogiannakis, the HOC decided the implementation of a coordinated programme of Olympic Preparation and set precise criteria for the athletes who would participate to the Seoul Olympic Games. For the first time are set criteria more strict that those of the International Federations. Despite the initial protests of the National Federations, the correctness of that decision was proved with the later success of the Greek athletes. The same issue had been brought up for discussion in 1978, by then HOC Secretary General, Nikos Filaretos, who had proposed a system of “5 Olympic stages” – implemented with great success by the Belgian Olympic Committee for the athletes of its Olympic preparation – based on criteria set by the International Olympic Committee. The HOC administers, manages and sees to the maintenance of its facilities under its jurisdiction such as: the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens and the Olympic Swimming Center in the centre of Athens, the neoclassical building of Kapsali Str, Kolonaki (HOC headquarters until 1998), including all facilities therein and appurtenances thereto as well as all surrounding public premises, the International Olympic Academy and the Olympic Museum in Ancient Olympia. The HOC is also represented on the board of directors of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA). The HOC is also solely responsible for the Lighting and Hand over ceremonies for the Summer and Winter Olympic Games as well as for the correct interpretation and implementation of the articles of the Olympic charter. In addition, the HOC can make suggestions to the IOC regarding the Olympic movement and the organising of Olympic Games in general. The HOC is also charged with selecting the candidate city to host the Olympic or Mediterranean Games. Therefore, it submitted the candidature of the city of Athens for the Olympic Games of 1996 and the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, on the 15th of December 1995. The HOC takes action to ensure the writing, publication and distribution of special editions aiming at the development and promotion of the Olympic Idea and the history of Olympism, out-of-school physical education and sport in general; it also takes action to ensure that HOC information material and all sort of material in print be published and circulated in order to help fulfil the mission of the International Olympic Academy. Finally, the HOC recommends to the Minister responsible for sport issues and supervisor of the HOC, actions that should be taken for the achievement of its goals. According to the new statutes of the HOC, also approved by the IOC, the Committee is administered by: (a) The Plenary Session which includes necessarily (ex-officio) the IOC members for Greece (permanent members of the HOC), the representative of the National Federations of Olympic sports, an active male athlete or former male athlete and an active female athlete or former female athlete that have participated at least one time in Olympic Games (in case a former male or female athlete is elected, he/she should have participated at least once in the last three Olympic Games prior to the day of their election) and two eminent personalities (with contribution to sports and the dissemination of the Olympic Spirit). (b) The Executive Committee which is composed by five (5) members. By right its members are: the HOC President, the IOC members for Greece, the A’ Vice President, the Secretary General and the Treasurer. It should also be noted that the participation of the abovementioned members is realised in one of the abovementioned capacities, while the Plenary Session elects from its members the rest of the E.C. members until they reach the number of 5. The HOC also comprises the following Commissions: Olympic Preparation Commission, Olympic Torch Relay Commission, Athletes Commission, Gender Equality Commission, Marketing Commission, Ethics Commission, Sports and Environment Commission and the National Olympic Academy. The HOC offices, as well as the International Olympic Academy’s offices are situated in Halandri, Athens, at a street, which – following HOC’s request to the Municipality of Halandri – was renamed to Dimitriou Vikela Ave. in honour of Dimitrios Vikelas, reviver of the Olympic Games and first IOC President.


The H.O.C. has as its statutory mission:

a) To oversee and act to ensure the development, furtherance and safeguarding of the Olympic Movement, sport, the spirit of sportsmanship and out-of-school physical education, within the scope of the principles of the Olympic Idea and the traditions of Hellenic Sport; to exercise supervision on the Olympic disciplines;

b) To see to it that the rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Olympic Charter are properly interpreted and correctly applied;

c) To disseminate love for sport and respect for the spirit of sportsmanship among the young;

d) To organize, in liaison with the proper National Federations, the preparation of athletes and make, under its sole responsibility, the final selection of athletes who are to represent Greece at an Olympic or Mediterranean Games competition, as well as at such continental and transcontinental competitions as are held under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee;

e) To oversee and inspect the organization of the above mentioned competitions, where such competitions are to be held in Greece;

f) To draft proposals addressed to the IOC concerning the rules of the Olympic Charter and their respective by-laws, the Olympic Movement in general as well as the organizing and the holding of the Olympic Games;

g) To co-operate with the Greek State as well as with public bodies or private establishments for promoting healthy sport policies;

h) To recommend to the Minister responsible for sport affairs having supervisory authority over the HOC any measures that might help the Committee fulfill its mission;

i) To administer and manage all sports facilities under its jurisdiction. In particular, to administer and manage the “G. Karaiskakis” stadium, the Athens Olympic Aquatic Center and the Athens Marble Stadium, including all facilities therein and appurtenances thereto as well as all surrounding public premises; moreover, to see to the maintenance of and attend to the facilities of the International Olympic Academy, and take all action necessary for the maintenance of the Olympic Museum at Ancient Olympia as well as any other sport facilities assigned under HOC jurisdiction. To look after the maintenance of the site of the Marathon Start. To be represented on the board of directors of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA), pursuant to article 17 of Act 2433/1966 (Gov. Gaz. 180A);

j) To take action to ensure the preparation, publication and distribution of special editions aiming at developing and promoting the Olympic Idea and the history of Olympism, out-of-school physical education and sport in general; to ensure furthermore that HOC information material and all sort of material in print be published and circulated to help fulfill the mission of the International Olympic Academy;

k) To establish a National Olympic Academy (NOA), whose mission shall include the diffusion of Olympic Education over the entire Greek territory. NOA shall form a special HOC commission on which personalities of renowned status may also sit par excellence, such members being designated and nominated by the Plenary Session of the HOC upon proposal submitted by the HOC Executive Board, the majority of the NOA members being nonetheless designated from among HOC members;

l) To attend to the performance of the Lighting Ceremony at Olympia on the occasion of the Olympic Summer and Winter Games, upon which ceremony the HOC has exclusive rights; furthermore, to attend to the performance of the same Ceremony on any other occasion, such occasions being subject to a resolution of the Plenary Session of the HOC


The history of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) is strongly connected to the history of the revival of the Olympic Games. The HOC was founded in Athens, November 24th 1894 (according to the Julian calendar), with first President Crown Prince Constantine. Its first session was held on the same day with the subject of the organizing of the first Modern Olympic Games, which were finally held in 1896 in Athens from March 25th till April 3rd, in the newly restored Panathenian Stadium. The restoration was achieved thanks to the donation of 920.000 gold drachmas (huge amount at the time) of the magnanimous Georgios Averoff. It should be noted that since its foundation and until the year 2000, the name of the HOC in Greek, had been Committee for the Organizing of the Olympic Games as the purpose of its foundation was the organizing of the first International Olympic Games.

After the success of the First International Olympic Games in 1896 and the impact of Evangelis Zappas’ “OLYMPIANS”, National Olympic Games (1859, 1870, 1875, 1888-1889), the Greek government legislated the first law on sports matters on the 10th of July 1899. This law had a crucial role on the development of sports and Olympism in Greece, as it determined the means adopted by the Greek government for the teaching and development of Physical Education and sports in general and also the competence of the HOC. The law provided for the dissemination of the Olympic spirit and the development of all kinds of sports in Greece. Main competence of the HOC, according to this law was: a) the organizing of the Panhellenic and Olympic Games, b) the managing of the Panathenian Stadium and c) the participation of Greek athletes in sport competition abroad. The same law provided that the HOC should consist of 12 members, who would be administered by the President. The participation of governmental executives and members of the Parliament in the first Plenary Session indicates the importance shown on its foundation. Apart from the 1896 First Olympic Games, the HOC organized at the Panathenian Stadium the First Panhellenic Games in 1901 and the International Olympic Games of Athens on 1906. These Games are unfortunately called today “Mid-Olympics” despite the fact that they had been held under the auspices of the IOC, which until 1972 included them in the official Olympic guide and in all the relevant data it published. It is remarkable that after the Olympic Games in Paris (1900) and in Saint Louis (1904) – that did not meet the world’s expectations – the 1906 Games were the ones who gave the Olympic Movement a new impulse, contributing to the consolidation of the games and the restoration of their lost glory, a fact that was confirmed in the best way by the success of the London 1908 Olympic Games. The HOC, following the German Professor’s Carl Diem proposal, organized the first Olympic Torch Relay – as we know it till today – from Ancient Olympia to Berlin, on the occasion of 1936 Olympic Games. Athens had also secured the approval of the IOC to host the Olympic Games of 1914. However they were cancelled due to the international unrest that led to the outbreak of the First World War. In 1949, the IOC unanimously approved the foundation of the International Olympic Academy (IOA) in Ancient Olympia, under the supervision of the HOC, to which it entrusted with the project of organizing and administrating the Academy. Subsidized by the HOC and under the auspices of the IOC, IOA is situated at the HOC premises in Ancient Olympia since 1961, and the final control of its organizing and operation belongs to the HOC. The aim of the IOA is to promote Olympism and the Olympic Movement on an international level through: a) the annual organizing of International Sessions for Young Participants, Directors or National Olympic Academies Presidents and Executives of National Olympic Academies and International Federations, International Seminars on Olympic Studies for Postgraduate Students, International Session for Educators and Officials of Higher Institutes of Physical Education as well as Sports Journalists, b) encouragement, with the aim to create National Olympic Academies in various countries of the world. The IOA is also responsible for the Museum of the Contemporary Olympic Games, founded in Ancient Olympia in 1961 by the sports fan and art-lover Georgios Papastephanou-Provatakis, who donated it in 1965 to the HOC.

Since its foundation, Presidents of the HOC have been: Crown Prince Constantine(1894-1912) King Constantine (1913) Crown Prince George (1914-1917) Miltiadis Negrepontis (1918-1920) Crown Prince George (1921-1922) King George B’ (1922-1923) George Averoff (1924-30/4/1930) Ioannis Drosopoulos (1/5/1930-1936) Crown Prince Paul (1936-1948) King Paul (1948-1952) Kostas Georgakopoulos and Ioannis Ketseas (1953-1954) Crown Prince Constantine (1955-1964) Crown Princess Irene (1965-1968) Theodosios Papathanasiadis (1969-1973) Spyridon Vellianitis (31/1/1973-1974) Apostolos Nikolaidis (30/8/1974-1976) Georgios Athanasiadis (1976-1983) Aggelos Lempesis (14/4/1983-1984) Lambis Nikolaou (1985-1988 and 1989-1992) Antonios Tzikas (1993-1996) Lambis Nikolaou (1997-2000 and 2001-2004) Minos X. Kyriakou (2004-2009) Spyros Capralos (2009 – )

The IOC Members for Greece have been: Dimitrios Vikelas (1894-1899), who was the first IOC President from 1894 to 1896, Alexandros Merkatis (1899-1925), Georgios Averoff (1926-1930), Nikolaos Politis (1930-1933), Aggelos Volanakis (1933-1963), Ioannis Ketseas (1946-1965), ex-King Constantine (1963-1974), Pyrros Lapas (1965-1980), Epaminondas Petralias (1975-1977), Nikolaos Nisiotis (1978-1986) , Nikos Filaretos(1981-2005), Lambis Nikoalou (1986 – 2015), Spyros Capralos (2019-today).

Archives of the H.O.C.

Historical archive

The historical archive of the H.O.C. covers the period from 1894 to 1972.  The archive includes the following contents :

  • documents, manuscripts in ink and pencil, typed in black and blue ink
  • dublicated copies, carbon copies and photocopies
  • telegrams
  • invitations
  • journals
  • photographs
  • postcards (commemorative of sportevents)
  • architectural plans
  • tickets to sportevents
  • newspapers
  • albums

There is also a special section with books (volumes with copies of correspondence, minutes of meetings, copies of letters).

In addition to the preservation of archival material – in accordance with the rules and regulations established by archival science – great emphasis has been placed on its preservation through computerized data entry. The cataloguing software was developped specially for the H.O.C. archives taking into account its special features and the respective research interest. For the period 1894-1936 the computer input was carried out on a document-by-document basis, while for the period 1937-1972 per file.

The project of classifying and cataloguing the archive was entrusted to Christina Koulouri, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History and current Rector of the Panteion University of Political and Social Sciences. The research and cataloguing team consisted of historian Yiannis Yiannitsiotis, and currently Assistant Professor (tenured) of Social History at the Department of Social Anthropology and History, of the University of the Aegean and Dr. Vassiliki Tzachrista, archaeologist and currently responsible for the Hellenic Olympic Committee’s Archives. The conservation works was carried out exclusively by the conservator – restorer, Dr. Penelope Banou, a permanent employee of the Department of Archival Material and Books Conservation of the General State Archives Central Service. The work continued even after the completion of the cataloguing.  The entite project was funded by the Olympic Solidarity of the International Olympic Committee.

Photographic Archive

HOC Photographic archive dates back from 1889 to 2000 and includes a total of 9.824 photos (color and black & white) of which 8.033 are originals and 1.791 are copies. There are also 204 postcards which refer to the period from 1896 till the 1970s, while the majority relating 1906  Intermediary Olympic Games. Funds for this specific project were provided by the Secretariat General of the Olympic Games 2004, Ministry of Culture. Implementation of the project was entrusted to the Democritus University of Thrace under the scientific direction of Christina Koulouri.  Leading responsible for classification, research and recording was the historian, Dr. Katerina Dede, Senior Researcher – Section of Neohellenic Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation. The conservation work was carried out by Penelope Banou.

Once the classification of the photographic archive has been completed, it was digitized along with the HOC archives from the period 1894-1936. The Digitization was carried out by the software company Oracle – Hypersystems S.A which specialises in the management of Electronic Document and works exclusively in an Intranet/Internet environment and technology . A total of 18.442 documents from the historical archive were digitized (15.888 documents  for the period 1894-1936 and 9.755 photos).

The classification, cataloguing and digitization project was followed by three original premium editions that showcased to the fullest extent the Archives of the Hellenic Olympic Committee– both in English and in Greek– sponsored by the IOC Olympic Solidarity which showcased the HOC Archives.

The first edition, Archives and History of the Hellenic Olympic Committee,  was written by the same academic team that had worked on the Historical Archives immediately after its compilation, was completed and was published in 2002. The aim of this volume was to highlight aspects of the Greek History of the Olympic Games and the HOC through selected topics from the archives and to make the best possible use of the primary information’s potential provided by the archives.

The second edition, Athens, the city of the Olympic Games 1896-1906  was published in 2004 with the dual intention; on the one hand to rediscover elements of the HOC archives, and on the other, to attempt a multi-level approach to the modern Olympic Games, all contained in an anthology written by Greek University historians and researchers.

The third edition, The International Olympic Academy – The history of an Olympic Institution was published in 2007 following two-year of primary research and writing and jointly highlighted the archives of the Academy and the Committee.

Reference: Vassiliki Tzachrista “Archives of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (1894-1972) and the International Olympic Academy (1961-1996) in magazine Comma (International Journal on Archives), Liverpool University Press, 2009, vol. 2., pp. 31-40).

HOC Archives are open to public for study and research

Address: Dimitriou Vikela 52, Halandri 152 33 – Athens

Working days/hours: Tuesday – Thursday 11:00-16:00 upon request

Contact person: Dr Vassiliki Tzachrista, Archaeologist

Tel. 210 68 78 816

Email: VASSILIKI TZACHRISTA – HOC Library: library@hoc.gr