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MAIN Arrow to Sports Sports Arrow to Olympics Olympic Games Arrow to Olympic History Olympics History

Discus thrower, ancient Greece OlympicsWhile the modern Olympics may trace its root back to ancient Greece, the history of the modern games as we know them today began at the dawn of the 20th century in 1896.

In that year, it was Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin who helped organize the first modern games as a way to get young people more actively involved in physical exercise.

The location of the world's first international sports meet? It was in Athens, of course, where the first Olympic games originated in 776 BC.

In the inaugural matches, teams of athletes from France, the United States, England, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Hungary and Australia all met to compete in various sports. National pride was on the line as athletes participated in tennis matches, fencing, diving and swimming, bicycling, rowing, and at least one yacht race!

Robert Garrett competes in the discus throw in 1896.
American Olympian
legend Robert Garrett, competing in Athens
in 1896.

Winning most of the accolades was the Amercan team, a tradition of sports excellence that continues to this day.

In keeping with ancient Greek tradition, instead of gold medals the first modern Olympic champions were each presented with olive branch laurel crowns as a symbol to their ties to the games first played centuries before.

Deemed a great success by world leaders and the popular press that year, the modern games continued to inspire generations of kids and teens to aim at Olympic greatness.

Today, thousands of young athletes from around the planet gather to meet and compete in breathtaking feats of sportsmanship at events - numbering 35 in all -- at the Summer and Winter Olympic games.

Just up ahead, find more interesting information on the Olympics at top sites offering historical fun facts, trivia, athlete biographies, and sneak peeks behind the scenes to Olympic glory ...

also see -> Summer Olympic Fun Facts | Winter Olympic Fun Facts


More about Olympics history around the Web:

The Ancient Olympics
- The Purseus Digital Library Project at Tufts University is more than an academic research collection. See what they've done with their material on Ancient Greece for the Olympics. Sweet design and high quality graphics combined with excellent information. Step into the virtual time machine and visit the ancient Olympics!

Ancient Olympics: The Real Story - Online exhibit featuring the politics and commercialism that dogged even the 'purity' of the first Olympic games, plus a special look at women athletes, a glossary, related links, and interesting trivia in a FAQ comparing Olympic myths with the competitive reality of ancient Greek sport.

Journal E: Olympic History - Check out Olympic history as told in photos and an interactive historical timeline.

Winter Summer Past and Future Olympics- Here at the official site of the Olympic games, find out who won what and when, with fun facts & trivia, plus story articles on the ancient games and the paralymics.


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