(Redirected from 1896 Olympics)
The Games of the I Olympics were held in 1896 in Greece. These were the first celebration of the Olympic Games since the recreation of the ancient Greek Olympics with the founding of the International Olympic Committee in 1894.
The first competitions to be held at the modern Olympic Games are the heats of the 100 m track and field event. All three heats are won by Americans. The first final of the Games is the triple jump, which is won by American James Connolly, thereby becoming the first Olympic Champion since the fourth century CE. A second final held is the discus throw, where American Robert Garrett beats the Greeks, who are sad to lose this classical Greek event. Garrett, who did not previously compete in this event as it was re-introduced at these Games, had been practising with a massive discus. When he arrived in Athens, he noticed that the discuses here were much easier to throw.
In the Zappeion, the first fencing events takes place, the foil for amateurs and for fencing masters. The latter event is the first event to be held especially for professionals. This is remarkable, as the Olympics did not, for a long time, allow professional athletes to compete, with the sole exception of fencing. The final of the amateur foil event is a French battle, won by Eugène-Henri Gravelotte. The fight between the two master fencers on foil is won by Leonidas Pyrgos, which thereby becomes the first Greek Olympic Champion of the modern era.
In the stadium, the Americans continue their dominance in athletics, winning the long jump (through Ellery Clark), the shot put (Garrett, winning his second title) and the 400 m (Tom Burke). A fourth track and field event, the 1500 m, is won by Australia.
The weightlifting contests are also conducted in the Olympic stadium, with Great Britain and Viggo Jensen of Denmark taking a first and a second place each in the single-hand and double-hand contests.
In the morning, preliminary events of the shooting competition are held, while the first tennis matches are also played. The only final event of the day takes place at the cyclodrome at New Phaliron, where the 100 km race is contested. The event proves to be tiring for both cyclists and spectators. Of the two finishing cyclists, Léon Flameng of France takes first place.
The rifle shooting event over 200 m is concluded, with a Greek winner: Pantelis Karasevdas. There's more success for the Greeks, as Ioannis Georgiadis wins an all-Greek final in the sabre event.
The third stadium day is opened by the 800 m, where Teddy Flack takes his second title of the Games. In the first gymnastics competitions, Germany takes the titles in both the parallel bars event for teams and the horizontal bar event, though they are the only entrant in the latter competition. The German gymnastic successes continue in the individual events, winning two more titles: Carl Schuhmann wins the horse vault, while Hermann Weingärtner takes first in the horizontal bar. The two other events, the rings and the pommel horse are won by Ioannis Mitropoulos of Greece and Louis Zutter of Switzerland, respectively.
At this day, a new event was conducted at the Olympics. A long-distance running event, the marathon, had been conceived by Frenchman Michel Bréal. The event was named after the battle of the same name. The Athenian soldier Pheidippides was said to have run the distance from the town of Marathon to Athens, after the Greek army defeated the Persians there in 490 BC. The Greeks were very enthusiastic about the idea, and the start of the marathon race was indeed in Marathon. For historical reasons, the Greeks hoped the race would be won by a Greek, especially since the Greek track and field athletes had not yet won an event.
The crowded stadium mourned when it is announced that the Australian Teddy Flack was in the lead. However, Flack abandoned the race after a fall, at which time the lead had been taken over by a Greek runner, the water carrier Spiros Louis. As he entered the stadium under loud cheering, he was accompanied by the two Princes, who attended the Olympics with their father. Louis finished the race in slightly less than 3 hours. The second runner to arrive was also from Greece: Kharilaos Vasilakos, the winner of the very first modern marathon race ever, the Greek selection race for the Olympics. Third was Hungarian Gyula Kellner, after the disqualification of a third Greek runner, who had travelled part of the course by carriage.
In 1896, the winner was awarded a silver medal, the second placed athlete received a bronze medal. The third placed athlete did not receive any reward.
See the medal winners, ordered by sport:
Top medal-collecting nations:
(for the full table, see 1896 Summer Olympics medal count)
Note that in 1896, no national teams existed as we know them now. Therefore, teams composed of athletes from different countries were possible.
- The First Olympic Games - Athens, 1896 (http://www.forthnet.gr/olympics/athens1896/)
- IOC Athens 1896 Page (http://www.olympic.org/uk/games/past/index_uk.asp?OLGT=1&OLGY=1896)`
- Official Report (http://www.aafla.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1896/1896.pdf)
- Mallon, Bill & Widlund, Ture - The 1896 Olympic Games, Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary - McFarland, Jefferson, 1998, find an excerpt of this book at  (http://www.aafla.org/6oic/OfficialReports/Mallon/1896.pdf)