The history of making use of pigeons' ability to find their way home dates back at least 5,000 years. This is also the age of a mural in the Egyptian temple showing the release of pigeons on the occasion of the coronation of the Pharaoh, evidencing the use of pigeons to carry messages. Traces of the use of pigeons to distribute information can be found in numerous written sources, sculptures and paintings. In these historic times carrier pigeons were bred and used for courier purposes mainly in Arab countries, then in ancient Greece and Rome, where they were used to inform about the results of battles, sieges and military movements. Oriental pigeons originating – like all domesticated pigeons – from rock pigeon, originally inhabiting the Mediterranean basin, served this purpose. It was not until the eighteenth century when return flights of a sporting nature were initiated. The precursor and also the birthplace of the modern pigeon breeding was Belgium. Interest in pigeon competitions was gradually growing in popularity and the popularity of breeding was so great that in 1936 in Belgium 400,000 members were registered, and when we include family members it turns out that every third inhabitant of this small country was interested in pigeons.

Carrier pigeons were used for courier services in time of war. After the First World War, promoted by the military authorities in all European countries, a gradual development of racing pigeon breeding took place. In Western European countries more and more clubs were established and outside Belgium nationwide associations were formed. This called for the establishment of an international organization which would regulate some problems related to breeding these birds. In 1938 in Brussels the international carrier pigeon congress was held, during which the achievements of the individual associations were presented. The competition based on flight results was then created and named the Racing Pigeon Olympiad. Before World War II, one more Olympiad was organized in 1939. Subsequent meetings were continued from 1948, when during a meeting in London the international federation (Federation Colombophile International) was established and it was decided that the pigeon olympiad would be held with a frequency of every two years, setting the first one in Lille (France) in 1949.

In connection with the postwar isolation of the Eastern bloc and difficulties crossing borders, Poland did not participate in the first post-war Olympiads. Representatives of Poland attended the olympiad for the first time in 1957, joining the FCI and participating in the fifth Olympiad in Amsterdam. From that time the Polish association has participated in all competitions, up to the present − the 32th Racing Pigeon Olympiad in Poznan. It is the third olympiad organized in Poland, the two previous ones took place in Katowice in 1969 and in 1989 also in Katowice in the "Spodek" arena.

The center of the global pigeon racing is still in Europe. The main center is Belgium, with Brussels as the seat of the FCI headquarters, where famous breeding farms still exist and big events are organized, spectacular flights and auctions are held, etc. The tradition is successfully cultivated also in the Netherlands, England and Germany. Little is known about this but unusual interest and development of pigeon racing occurring in the Far East, China, Japan and Thailand. In China alone there are over 300,000 breeders. Pigeon racing differs from the European tradition, mainly involving gambling on flights from one common dovecot and huge cash prizes. The Olympiad was only twice held outside Europe, i.e. in 1981 in Tokyo (Japan) and in 2001 in Cape Town (South Africa). Currently in Europe, there has been a decrease in the number of breeders, with a growing number in Portugal and in the last decade in Poland (an average of about 800 members per year). Our association in recent years has obtained a leadership role in this area with 45,000 members and takes the second place after the Germans with 46,000 registered members. The growing popularity of this sport in Poland was the main reason for entrusting it the organization of the world's largest event, the Racing Pigeon Olympiad. The competition involves an exhibition event in two main categories. The first one as a standard evaluates appearance − similar to the internationally adopted racing pigeon standard, where the following are taken into account: appearance, muscles, bones and feathers of the presented pigeons. In the second category, sports results achieved by pigeons in the established competition are settled – 20% of participating birds; the best are in the highest positions on the lists of the competition, the more valuable the greater the number of competitors. In this category there are four classes of flights − short-, medium- and long-distance, and marathons exceeding 1,000 km. In the Olympic competition Poland is the clear leader winning about 40% prizes in the last few shows. For amateurs the exhibited birds are similar, but professionals see substantial differences in the build and appearance, such as elegance, refinement and innate intelligence. Called the racehorses of the sky they reach exorbitant prices on the market, often competing with the prices of good quality cars. They are purchased by breeders mainly from the Far East (China, Taiwan, Japan) and North America (USA, Canada). National exhibitions of racing pigeons during which we select the national team are held each year, mainly in Upper Silesia, where most (8,500) breeders live and which is close to centres such as Krakow and Opole. Every year nationwide exhibitions are visited by approximately 20 thousand enthusiasts. Until recently, the exhibition halls in Katowice were the permanent place, and after the loud crash, which killed 65 people, exhibitions are held in Sosnowiec. In Poznan we expect significantly more domestic and foreign guests, because for breeders it is a major attraction to see the best pigeons in the world, which is possible with the facilities available on MTP fairgrounds. We expect attendance of 50,000 visitors, the largest of all previous Olympiads. Currently in Poland every year 14 sports adult pigeon flights are held in May, June and July when hundreds of thousands of pigeons around the country compete on routes from 100 to 1200 km. The longest flights ever reached Barcelona, London and Rome. Pigeons are carried by cars in special cabins accommodating from three to six thousand birds. Birds are released in selected sites in Poland and Western European countries − Germany, Belgium, more rarely the Netherlands and France. The release of more than 30,000 pigeons is very impressive. The development of pigeon racing in Poland is appreciated by the authorities. The guests of honor at our exhibitions were, among others, Deputy Prime Ministers Jarosław Kalinowski and Andrzej Lepper as well as agriculture ministers, senators, deputies. The results achieved by our breeders gained recognition in congratulatory letters from President Lech Kaczynski, who last year rewarded the winners of the flight from Barcelona with crystal goblets, and the current president Bronisław Komorowski decorated our activists with high state awards.