Between national and Olympic fidelity. The Italian IOC member Alberto Bonacossa as a case study

By Nicola Sbetti

Count Alberto Bonacossa (Vigevano, August 24, 1883–Milan, January 30, 1953) was one of the most important and influential Italian sports leaders of the twentieth century. He held various positions at different times, spanning from Italy’s liberal period to when it became a Republic, and including the fascist period. To mention only his international commitments, he was president of the International Motorcycling Federation, vice-president of the International Automobile Federation, member of the International Ice Hockey League and the International Skating Union, but above all, from 1925 onwards, he was a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), sitting on its executive committee from 1935. The aim of our article is therefore to provide an in-depth analysis of the different stages of Alberto Bonacossa’s career, and in particular to understand the importance of his belonging to Italian nobility in the context of his involvement in international sports networks dominated by a culture that was at the same time cosmopolitan, transnational, and patriotic/nationalist. Our analyses are based in particular on the archives of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and the IOC archives, and these should make it possible to highlight how the tensions between national and international are being recognized within international sports organizations, through the use of certain biographies.

  • Alberto Bonacossa
  • IOC members
  • Italy
  • International Olympic Committee
  • CONI
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