Sigfrid Edström

Johannes Sigfrid Edström (November 11, 1870 – March 18, 1964) was a Swedish industrialist, chairman of the Sweden-America Foundation, and 4th President of the International Olympic Committee.[2]

Sigfrid Edström
Sigfrid Edstrom.jpg
Olympic rings without rims.svg
Sigfrid Edström during the early 1910s
4th President of the IOC
In office
1942 – August 15, 1952
Preceded byHenri de Baillet-Latour
Succeeded byAvery Brundage
Honorary President of the IOC
In office
August 15, 1952 – March 18, 1964
Preceded byvacant, last held by Pierre de Coubertin (1937)
Succeeded byvacant, next held by Avery Brundage (1975)
Personal details
Born(1870-11-11)11 November 1870
Morlanda, Sweden
Died18 March 1964(1964-03-18) (aged 93)
Stockholm, Sweden[1]
Spouse(s)Ruth Randall Edström

Early lifeEdit

Edström was born in the tiny village of Morlanda, on the island of Orust, Bohuslän. He studied at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, where he graduated in 1891, and continued studying at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, and the United States. In his youth, he was a top sprinter, capable of finishing the 100 m in 11 seconds. He was the director of the Gothenburg trams from 1900 to 1903, where he was in charge of electrifying them, and of the electrotechnical company ASEA from 1903 to 1933, and president of ASEA's board from 1934 until 1939.

Edström was involved in Swedish sports administration, and helped organize the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm. During the Olympics, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) was established, and Edström was elected its first president, a position that he held until 1946.

President of the IOCEdit

He became a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1920, and after holding a position on the Executive Committee, became vice-president in 1931. When IOC president Henri de Baillet-Latour died in 1942, Edström was the acting president until the end of World War II, when he was formally elected president. He played an important role in reviving the Olympic Movement after the war. In 1952, he retired from this position and was succeeded by Avery Brundage.

In 1931, Edström was involved in the controversial decision to ban Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi from competing at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, as he saw Nurmi as a professional athlete. This affected Finland's relationship to Sweden negatively as Paavo Nurmi was considered a Finnish national hero. Nurmi finally got his revenge during 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki when he brought the Olympic torch to the opening ceremony in the stadium and received a standing ovation in front of Edström.

He died in Stockholm on March 18, 1964.

Published worksEdit

  • Edström, J. Sigfrid (1946). Ruth Randall Edström 1867-1944. Västmanlands: Allehanda.


  1. ^ John E. Findling, Kimberly D. Pellep, Encyclopedia of the modern Olympic movement, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004, p. 471.
  2. ^ "Edstrom Sails After 3-Week Visit to Industrialiasts Here". New York Times. October 14, 1938. Retrieved 2010-03-21. J. Sigfrid Edstrom, one of Sweden's leading industrialists, sailed a last night for France on the North German Lloyd liner Bremen after a three-week tour of this country. Mr. Edstrom, who is chairman of the Swedish-American Foundation, studied means of fostering continued amity between the Scandinavian countries and the United States.

External linksEdit

Civic offices
New title Presidents of the IAAF
Succeeded by
  Lord Burghley
Preceded by
  Henri de Baillet-Latour
President of the International Olympic Committee
Succeeded by
  Avery Brundage
Preceded by
  Edward Battell
President of Organizing Committee for Summer Olympic Games
Succeeded by
  Henri de Baillet-Latour