The Modern Olympic turn 120 years old today!
The first Olympic games were held in Athens Greece in Panathinaiko Stadium, April 6 – April 15 1896. 241 athletes represented 14 nations, there were 43 events in these 9 sports: Athletics, Gymnastics, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Swimming, Tennis, Shooting, Cycling, and Fencing.
Compare that to the Olympics that will be held in Rio de Janerio this year (2016) August 5th to August 21st, where there will be over 6,000 athletes represented by 161 nations that qualified (206 expected). As far as the number of events, that has also grown to 306 in 28 sports.
Back to 1896, the first Olympiad among 40,000 attended the games, most notably was George I, the King of Greece, and games were funded by a single individual, a wealthy architect Georgios Averoff, through the sale of stamps, and medals.
Speaking of medals, the United States edged Greece for the most gold medals 11 to 10, but Greece took the overall medal count over the U.S. 47 to 20.
I love the Olympics, the Winter Games a little more than the Summer Games, but, none the less they are fantastic, and I can’t wait. If you are now “jonesing” for some Olympic action there are always movies… “Chariots of Fire” about the 1924 Paris games, the 2016 release “Race” about Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin games, as well as a bevy of others.
(photos courtesy of: india, history, bestofmaster, becomeinvictus, athenshash)