Saturday, May 28, 2016

Athens 1896, the Re-birth of the Olympic Games

The first celebration of the modern Olympic Games took place in its ancient birthplace of Athens. The Games attracted athletes from 14 nations, with the largest delegations coming from Greece, Germany, France and Great Britain.
Due to its historical significance, the Greek hosts wanted to win the marathon above all else. Spyridon Louis set off from the city of Marathon and took the lead four kilometres from the finish line and, to the joy of the 100,000 spectators, won the race by more than seven minutes.


Hungarian swimmer Alfréd Hajos won the 100m and the 1200m events. For the longer race, the swimmers were transported by boat out to sea and left to swim the required distance back to shore. Hajos later confessed that his “will to live completely overcame [his] desire to win”.
On 6 April 1896, the American James Connolly won the triple jump to become the first Olympic champion in more than 1,500 years. He also finished second in the high jump and third in the long jump.

No official poster was made for the 1896 Olympic Games, but the cover page of the official report is often used to refer to the Games of the I Olympiad. The inscription "776-1896", like the drawing as a whole: the Olympic stadium in a newly designed horseshoe shape, the Acropolis, the girl personifying the goddess Athena and presenting the branch of wild olive intended for the victor, mark the bond between the Games of Antiquity and the first Games of the modern era.

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