Argentine Olympic Committee celebrates 100th anniversary. COA

The Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) marked its centenary on 31 December 2023marked its centenary, having been established by decree of President Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear in 1923 to create the structure for the 1924 Paris Olympic Games.

The Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) celebrated its 100th anniversary last Sunday, having been created by presidential decree in 1923 by Marcelo T. de Alvear. This was the first time in Argentine history that such an extraordinary legal instrument had been used, as the National Congress refused to deal with the matter through the legislative channels provided for in the Constitution at the time.

This innovative approach to settling disputes, more characteristic of monarchical regimes than the liberal republican ones of the time, and often abused by almost all Argentine presidents for less noble purposes, allowed the delegation of what was then one of the richest countries in the world to participate in the 1924 Paris Olympics, winning one gold, three silver and two bronze medals.

A plaque was unveiled to commemorate the event. COA
A plaque was unveiled to commemorate the event. COA

History aside, and after a long journey that included Buenos Aires hosting the first Pan American Games in history, the Argentine Olympic Committee received greetings and tributes on the occasion of its centenary.

Messages came from IOC President Thomas Bach, from the legislature of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and from renowned international athletes, many of whom have won gold medals in the past.

The celebrations brought together athletes, coaches, officials, sponsors and journalists, as well as the most prominent figures in the country's sports scene.

The President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, shared his dedication to the COA in a video on social media. "I am very happy to send you my message here to you on the occasion of the celebration of your anniversary. Because Argentina, the Argentines, the Olympic Committee, have played such an important role in my life. For many decades, it has been a great pleasure for me to be with you, even if only online," Bach commented.

"You can be extremely proud of what the Argentine Olympic Committee has achieved over the past 100 years. Your athletes are the shining example of this. Not only for their great successes at the Olympic Games and World Championships, but also for their fair play, their charismatic appearance and their great commitment to the Olympic values," the IOC chief said in the video posted on social media.

"Manu" Ginobili and Juan Sanchez look at their men's basketball golds at the 2004 Athens Games. GETTY IMAGES 

As for athletes, Olympic champions of this century, such as Santiago Lange (triple Olympic medallist in sailing and Olympic champion in Rio 2016 at the age of 54 - the oldest athlete to achieve this), Paula Pareto (judo), Sebastián Crismanich (taekwondo), Javier Mascherano (double football gold medallist), along with Manu Ginóbili (basketball legend and voted the best athlete of the day at the 2004 Athens Games after "The Hand of God" in the last-minute victory over Serbia) and Luis Scola (basketball legend with the most appearances in the history of the World Cup) also sent their messages to mark the centenary of the Argentine Olympic Committee.

"Hopefully there will be another 100 years come for the COA, with many people working for the Olympic movement and Olympic values," said Lange, who won a gold medal in sailing with Cecilia Carranza Saroli at the 2016 Olympic Games held in the Brazilian capital.

After overcoming lung cancer, Santiago Lange won gold at Rio 2016 a year later. GETTY IMAGES
After overcoming lung cancer, Santiago Lange won gold at Rio 2016 a year later. GETTY IMAGES

Meanwhile, Mascherano, the coach of Argentina's U-23 football team as they seek to qualify for the upcoming Paris Games and double Olympic champion at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, said: "I congratulate the COA for everything they do for the athletes. It was an honour to be part of the teams that won the gold medals.