The Principality, the crossroads of the world of sport with its world-renowned events – the Monte-Carlo Rally, the Grand Prix, the International Tennis matches and so on – is also a think-tank for the official bodies which govern sports …
Towards the end of the nineteenth century there was already in existence in the Principality a “Regatta Committee” which was replaced in 1888, on the initiative of a group of a dozen Monégasques, by a sports association established to promote, encourage and develop water-borne sports such as sailing and rowing. The first Monégasque sports association was formed under the name of the “Société des Régates de Monaco” which is today the “Société Nautique”.
In addition, the Principality of Monaco, rejoicing and full of euphoria as a result of the extraordinary success of the new town of Monte Carlo and banking on the future with confidence, gave its support to the still embryonic motorized sports :
1877, the Tennis Master Series had their debut in Monte-Carlo, being now one of the most important international Tennis events.
1904, the first speedboat meeting;
1910, the take-off from the Quai Antoine I of a biplane, as fragile as a child’s toy, but at the controls of which Henri Rougier was to realize the exploit of flying over the nearest spurs of the Alpes-Maritimes;
1913, the first “hydro-aeroplane” meeting (ancestor of the seaplane). Similarly, other sports including golf (with the opening in 1910 of the first course on the slopes of Mont Agel), tennis, fencing, shooting, boxing, football and athletics all took wing and on the eve of the 1914-1918 war, the sporting activities of the Principality were already exemplary and were to continue :
1928, opening of the Monte Carlo Country Club and Monte Carlo Beach with its Olympic-standard swimming-pool;
1929, the first automobile Grand Prize race;
1939, the inauguration, by Prince Louis II, of the stadium which bears his name and which was immediately used to stage the last University World Games before the Second World War.
With the Liberation, sport came into its own again. Its development in all fields was at lightning pace and from then on Monaco possessed a range of sports clubs and federations recognised by international bodies.