Modern Olympic Games

Topics: Olympic Games, Summer Olympic Games, Winter Olympic Games Pages: 26 (9954 words) Published: December 31, 2012
Modern Olympic Games

Baron Pierre de Coubertin
Various revivals of the term "Olympic" to describe athletic events in the modern era have been attested since the 17th century. The first such event was the Cotswold Games or "Cotswold Olimpick Games", an annual meeting near Chipping Campden, England, involving various country sports. It was first organized by the lawyer Robert Dover between 1612 and 1642, with several later revivals leading up to the present day. The British Olympic Association, in its bid for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, mentioned these games as "the first stirrings of Britain's Olympic beginnings".[19] L'Olympiade de la République, a national Olympic festival held annually from 1796 to 1798 in Revolutionary France also attempted to emulate the ancient Olympic Games.[20] The competition included several disciplines from the ancient Greek Olympics. The 1796 Games also marked the introduction of the metric system into sport.[20] In 1850 an Olympian Class was started by Dr. William Penny Brookes at Much Wenlock, in Shropshire, England. In 1859, Dr. Brookes changed the name to Wenlock Olympian Games. This annual sports festival continues to this day.[21] The Wenlock Olympian Society was founded by Dr. Brookes on 15 November 1860.[22] Between 1862 and 1867, Liverpool held an annual Grand Olympic Festival. Devised by John Hulley and Charles Melly, these games were the first to be wholly amateur in nature and international in outlook, although only 'gentlemen amateurs' could compete.[23][24] The programme of the first modern Olympiad in Athens in 1896 was almost identical to that of the Liverpool Olympics.[25] In 1865 Hulley, Dr. Brookes and E.G. Ravenstein founded the National Olympian Association in Liverpool, a forerunner of the British Olympic Association. Its articles of foundation provided the framework for the International Olympic Charter.[26] In 1866, a national Olympic Games in Great Britain was organized at London's Crystal Palace.[27] Revival

A postage stamp from the first Greek Olympic stamp set.
Greek interest in reviving the Olympic Games began with the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821. It was first proposed by poet and newspaper editor Panagiotis Soutsos in his poem "Dialogue of the Dead", published in 1833.[28] Evangelos Zappas, a wealthy Greek-Romanian philanthropist, first wrote to King Otto of Greece, in 1856, offering to fund a permanent revival of the Olympic Games.[29] Zappas sponsored the first Olympic Games in 1859, which was held in an Athens city square. Athletes participated from Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Zappas funded the restoration of the ancient Panathenaic Stadium so that it could host all future Olympic Games.[29] The stadium hosted Olympics in 1870 and 1875.[30] Thirty thousand spectators attended that Games in 1870, though no official attendance records are available for the 1875 Games.[31] In 1890, after attending the Olympian Games of the Wenlock Olympian Society, Baron Pierre de Coubertin was inspired to found the International Olympic Committee (IOC).[32] Coubertin built on the ideas and work of Brookes and Zappas with the aim of establishing internationally rotating Olympic Games that would occur every four years.[32] He presented these ideas during the first Olympic Congress of the newly created International Olympic Committee. This meeting was held from 16 to 23 June 1894, at the Sorbonne University in Paris. On the last day of the Congress, it was decided that the first Olympic Games, to come under the auspices of the IOC, would take place in Athens in 1896.[33] The IOC elected the Greek writer Demetrius Vikelas as its first president.[34] 1896 Games

Main article: 1896 Summer Olympics

The opening ceremony in the Panathinaiko Stadium.
The first Games held under the auspices of the IOC was hosted in the Panathenaic stadium in Athens in 1896. These Games brought together 14 nations and 241 athletes who...
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