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Athens, April 1896

RRI Sports Club
RRI Sports Club

, 17.04.2024, 13:45

Today we look at the first modern edition of the Olympic Games held Athens 124 years ago, more precisely in April 1896. The opening ceremony took place on Sunday April 5, when both the Catholic and Orthodox Christians were celebrating Easter. The number of spectators attending the ceremony was estimated at 80 thousand.

 

 

Competitions started on April 6 on the Olympic Stadium which was built from scratch by the Greek authorities on the location of an ancient arena. 241 athletes from 14 countries took part in the Olympic Games. This was the largest international participation in a sports event up to that moment.

 

 

In the spirit of the ancient Greek Olympic tradition and especially at the insistence of the French baron Pierre de Coubertin, the participation of women in the Olympic Games was forbidden. It was only in Paris, in 1900, that women were allowed to compete in the Olympic Games.

 

 

The first sports event held at the Athens Olympics was the 100 meters race and the first Olympic medalist was the American Francis Lane who ended the race in 12.20 seconds. Besides athletics, the Olympic Games in Athens also included cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling.

 

 

The marathon race took place on April 10 on the same route, which the Athenian soldier Philippides had covered more than 2,300 years before, to deliver news of the victory of the battle of Marathon over Persia. The winner of the marathon race was the Greek athlete Spiros Louis who thus became a national hero.

 

 

The competition ended on April 15. The first place in the nations’ ranking was held by the US with 11 gold medals out of a total of 20 medals won at the Olympic Games. Greece obtained 46 medals, of which 10 gold. (translation by L. Simion)

 

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