Development of the First Olympic Games

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Development of the First Olympic Games

It was Pierre de Coubertin of France who dreamt up this ambitious project, although others before him had tried to revive these Games during the 19th century, without having Couperin’s success. Drawing inspiration from the ancient Olympic Games, he decided to create the modern Olympic Games. With this purpose, he founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894 in Paris. The new committee set itself the objective of organizing the first Olympic Games of modern times. In 1896, more than 1,500 years after the ancient Games were banned; the first modern Olympic Games featured many references to this legacy of Greek Antiquity. The IOC’s decision to hold them in Athens (Greece) was a reminder that the Olympic Games originated in Greece. The majority of the competitions took place in the ancient stadium (the Panathenaic Stadium), which was restored for the occasion.
Most of the sports on the programme of the ancient Olympic Games were echoed in the modern Games. The organizers even went as far as inventing a new race, inspired by a legendary event: the marathon race. In ancient times, the Games were held first on one day and finally over five days. The 245 participants in Athens in 1896 came from 14 different countries and participated in forty three different events. As at the ancient Games, the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 were an exclusively male preserve. When women made their Olympic debut four years later at the 1900 Games in Paris (France), only two sports were open to them: tennis and golf.
In Athens in 1896, nine sports were on the programme: athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, weightlifting, wrestling, swimming, tennis and shooting. The Olympic programme has come a long way since then: some sports have been discontinued (e.g. golf and polo); others were dropped and then reintroduced (e.g. archery and…...

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