Do you know the name?
He was the first president of the European Gymnastics Union, eventually evolving into the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
He started all this July 23, 1881, 130yrs-ago today.
Cupérus held the post of President for 43yrs, perhaps the only FIG President to have made more changes than our current leader, Bruno Grandi.
Cupérus argued with Pierre de Coubertin against the idea of bringing back the Olympic Games. Cupérus felt that events like Gymnaestrada would better serve health, fitness and peaceful relations between nations:
“… I dream of the day when competitions will be superfluous, when gymnasts will compete for the infallible prize of their own effort, the exact equivalent in health, strength, flexibility, tenacity.”
Later he was to concede to the majority opinion, and join the Olympic movement:
“I admit defeat, and accept mankind and the things of this life as they are”.
The first FIG international competition took place in 1903 in Antwerp.
Read more about this little known history on FIG – History of the World Gymnaestrada
Here’s the monument to the great man, in his home town of Anvers, Belgium.