The First Modern Summer Olympic Games

Val MillsStarred Page By Val Mills, 20th Apr 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Sports>Sporting Events

With the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London getting closer daily, it is time to reflect on how the modern summer Olympic Games began.

Pierre de Coubertin, Father of the Modern Summer Olympics

The idea for the first modern summer Olympic Games came from Frenchman, Pierre de Coubertin. He wanted to promote international understanding and see the world come together in peace, accomplished through participation in sport.
The initial meeting to establish an International Olympic Committee and set the idea of a modern Olympics in motion was held on June 23 1894.
At this meeting the decision was made to hold the first Olympics in Athens, recognising the Greek link back to the Ancient Olympics of earlier times.

First Modern Summer Olympic Games, Athens 1896

The first modern summer Olympic Games were opened by the King George 1 of Greece on 6 April 1896.
Held at the Panathenean Stadium in Athens, fourteen nations participated, with 245 competitors, most of these being Greek.
Nine sports were offered at these first modern Olympics, these being track and field, fencing, weightlifting, rifle and pistol shooting,tennis, cycling, swimming, gymnastics and wrestling.

The first Modern Olympic Champion

An American athlete, James Connolly, became the first modern Olympic champion, when he won the triple jump event, known in those days as hop, skip and jump.
In order to attend the Games, he had to withdraw as a student at Harvard University, as he was not granted leave.
He continued from this success, coming second in the high jump and third in the long jump.
Although he competed four years later at the next Olympics in Paris, Connolly failed to retain his title.

The first modern Marathon

At the 1894 meeting it was decided to hold a marathon race, in memory of the messenger Phidippides, who ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce the Athenian victory in battle against the Persians. Sadly Phidippides died after his mammoth effort, but his memory lives on in the event named after him today.
Since these first modern summer Olympics in 1896 it has become tradition for the marathon to be the last event on the programme.
The 1896 Marathon event, held on 10 April, was won by the Greek athlete, Spyridon Louis, in the time of 2 hours 58 minutes and 50 seconds. As his prize for winning the event, the Greek government asked him what he wished as a reward, Being a water carrier, he asked for a donkey drawn carriage to help him in his business.
He never competed as an athlete again.

2012 Olympic Games, London

This year, 2012, London is hosting the 30th modern Olympics, from 27 July until 12 August. London has hosted the Olympics twice in the past, in 1908 and again in 1948 after it was cancelled because of war in 1944.
Throughout the world countries are now finalising their official teams and the countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games is on.

You may also enjoy reading:
Rules for Safe Lane Swimming at Your Local Pool
Go for Gold : Be a Winner in 2012


Athens Olympics 1896, First Marathon, Olympic Games, Pierre De Coubertin, Summer Olympics

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author avatar Val Mills
Self-published writer, coffee drinker, enjoying life. Also found at and

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author avatar Delicia Powers
20th Apr 2012 (#)

Wow...just love the history ...what super photos...thanks for this amazing information Val...!

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author avatar Buzz
20th Apr 2012 (#)

Thanks, Val, for sharing its glorious history. Well-written, as always, and richly-deserved star page.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
20th Apr 2012 (#)

Fascinating and most well Buzz says a richly deserved star page...

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
20th Apr 2012 (#)

Spot on, Val, from beginning to end an interesting read. You have won the first medal already! Olympics always kindles memories of yonder, its history, athletes and the great cities that host it every four years. Wish London Games every success. It is one world, after all, now - siva

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author avatar Christine Crowley
20th Apr 2012 (#)

Great article! Can't wait until the summer games this year in London!

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
20th Apr 2012 (#)

Just a super article - interesting from the first word to the last. Great images too. Bravo on a well deserved star. Thank you Val.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
20th Apr 2012 (#)

A very informative article. I learned a lot about the history of Olympics. Thank you Val.

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author avatar Carol
20th Apr 2012 (#)

Wonderful article about the Olympic Games Val, and i love the old photos. A well deserved star.

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author avatar Tess Irons
20th Apr 2012 (#)

Thanks for writing this very informative article about Olympic Games, Val. I learned something.

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author avatar Hickory Cottage
20th Apr 2012 (#)

Interesting bit of history. Thank you.

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