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1896 Olympics

by MB about a year ago in culture


The 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the I Olympic Games, were the first major modern- Olympic Games held. Organized by the International Olympic Committee of Pierre de Coubertin, it was held in Athens, Greece from 6th to 15th April 1896. The games featured competitors from fourteen nations and 241, all male. The participants were predominantly European, or living in Europe, with the exception of the US team. Winners received a silver medal and a copper medal was awarded to runners-up. Retroactively, the IOC upgraded these to gold and silver and awarded third-place bronze medals to athletes. Five of the 14 countries that took part have received medals. The United States won the highest number of gold medals, 11, the host nation of Greece won the most total medals, 46. The highlight for the Greeks was a marathon victory for their compatriot Spyridon Louis. The most successful competitor was German wrestler and gymnast Carl Schuhmann who won four events. More than 65 per cent of the participating competitors were Greek. Athens had been unanimously chosen to stage the inaugural modern Games at a congress organised by Coubertin in Paris on 23 June 1894, during which the IOC was also established, since Greece was the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games. The main arena was the Panathenaic Arena where, among others, there was athletics and boxing, with the Neo Phaliron Velodrome for cycling and the Zappeion for fencing. The opening ceremony took place on April 6 at the Panathenaic Stadium, during which most participating competitors, grouped by country, stood on the infield. After a speech by organising committee chairman Crown Prince Constantine his father officially opened the Games. Subsequently, nine bands and 150 choral singers performed an Olympic Hymn composed by Spyridon Samaras, with poet Kostis Palamas. The 1896 Olympics is regarded as a great achievement. The Games saw the largest international attendance in any sporting event up to that point. The Panathenaic Stadium overflowed to witness the largest crowd ever of a sporting event. After the Games, several influential figures, including Greek King George and some of Athens ' American competitors, appealed to Coubertin and the IOC to arrange some of the following Athens Games. Nevertheless, Paris was already scheduled to host the 1900 Summer Olympics and the Olympics did not return to Greece until the 2004 Summer Olympics, 108 years later, except for the 1906 Intercalated Games. Seven venues were used for the 1896 Summer Olympics. The main venue was the Panathenaic Stadium which hosted four of the nine sports that had been contested. The Marathon City served as the venue for the marathon event and the individual road racing events. Swimming took place in Zea Lake, Zappeion fencing, Kallithea sports shooting, and national tennis club Athens Lawn. By the time of the Games of 1896, tennis was a sport unknown to the Greeks. The First Olympic Games took place officially on April 6; it was Easter Monday for both the Western and Eastern Christian Churches as well as the anniversary of the independence of Greece. The Panathenaic Stadium was packed with nearly 80,000 fans including King George I of Greece, his wife Olga and their children. Most of the competing athletes, grouped by nation, placed themselves on infield. After a speech by the organising committee chairman, Crown Prince Constantine, his father officially opened the Games with the terms. At the 1894 Sorbonne congress a wide roster of sports was suggested for the Athens curriculum. During the first official announcements of the sporting events to be held, sports such as football and cricket were included, but these plans were never completed, and those sports did not make the final list for the Games. Rowing and yachting were also scheduled, but were cancelled due to poor weather on the expected competition day. As a result, the schedule for the 1896 Summer Olympics featured nine sports spanning 10 disciplines and 43 events.

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I am a bird aficionado and really enjoy spotting them them on hikes. I greatly appreciate the variety of birds cross North America and the world. They are amazing and intelligent creatures, each so unique and with a wonderful life.

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