The Idealist: The Story of Baron Pierre de Coubertin


The Story of Baron Pierre de Coubertin


Olympic insider and author George Hirthler talks with Big Blend Radio about his new historical novel, “THE IDEALIST: The story of Baron Pierre de Coubertin.”

This summer in Rio, time stopped for sports fans watching the women’s 5000-meter race as Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin collided mid-race. Would they give up? Would one make a last-ditch play for the bronze? Instead, before a wildly cheering crowd, they helped each other up and finished the race. Together. The two runners were awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Medal, the Olympic Committee’s highest honor for sportsmanship. It’s been awarded only 17 other times in the 122 years since the Olympics were resurrected by Coubertin, the sports visionary who believed in the unifying power of transcendent athleticism.

“Coubertin spent his life—and his family fortune—liberating people through sport.” George Hirthler, author.

Cast as a work of historical fiction, THE IDEALIST is an intricate and compelling story of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the visionary who saw the possibilities of uniting the world in friendship and peace through sport—and became the first international entrepreneur of athletic competition.

In its narrative scope, THE IDEALIST spans two centuries, covering the 74 years of Coubertin’s life from his birth in Pairs in 1863 to his death in Geneva in 1937. It reveals how the transformation of Paris into the capital of modernity helped fire a young man’s imagination and how the drumbeats of war sounded by the German hosts of the 1936 Berlin Olympics spoiled an old man’s dreams and left him bereft of hope for the Movement he created to foster peace among nations.

The story opens in Coubertin’s final years, after a life’s work resurrecting the Olympic Games is threatened by time, circumstance, and the efforts of the Third Reich to gain permanent control of the Games for their own nefarious ends. Deftly written by master storyteller George Hirthler, an Olympic insider named one of the 20 Most influential People in the Olympic Movement, THE IDEALIST is a story that will inspire and reverberate long after you’re done reading. Visit


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