This contribution aims to shed light on how serving on the boards of local sporting associations enables some leaders to access the elite of international sport. The case of three international leaders (Louis Daugé, Teddy Kriegk, and Melchior de Polignac) is observed through a sociography of the presidents of sports clubs in the city of Reims, the regional sports capital of Champagne-Ardenne, where they were prominent figures and local elites. Our prosopographical approach, which draws on works on social and institutional history, enables us to evaluate how the dynamics of democratization, institutionalization, and hierarchization in the sporting world impact local sporting life and the features that club presidents have in common. The appointment of regional federal leaders is therefore a key process for understanding who embodies the federal authority over sport practices and how the fabric of a local sport (and its club presidents) fits into the international institutional structure (and its most senior leaders). The comparative trajectories of Daugé, Kriegk, and Polignac are then studied from a more biographical perspective. They show three different routes to the top of international sports institutions and embody three moments in the history of sports that coexisted in the great sporting effervescence in Reims during the interwar period.
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