French (along with English) is the official language of the Olympics, yet has been used sparingly in London for these Games. The only usage I’ve noticed is that all the official speeches at the opening Ceremony were given in French first, then English. Certainly all the newly erected official signs on the streets here in London are in English.
Have you ever wondered WHY the official language of the Olympics is French? Shouldn’t it be primarily the language of the host country?
The answer is that the official language is primarily French as it is the language of the International Olympic Committee. The IOC headquarters is in Lausanne, a French speaking city in Switzerland. More specifically, it’s in honour of the founder of the Olympic Committee, Paris born Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who is considered the “father” of the Olympic Games.
Other French language Olympic facts:
- 23 nations participating in the Olympics have French as an official language
- French and English are the official languages of the Olympic Charter (the rules which govern the Games) – however in the case of discrepancies, French takes precedence!
- Gilbert Fellim, the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director, says that French is always to be used during opening ceremonies and medal presentations.