With the 2012 Olympic Games soon coming to a close, we thought it might be fun to share these blast from the past photos that were taken at the first modern Summer Olympics. We’ve come a long way since 1896 in technological advancements, civil liberties, and just about every aspect of life; the Olympic games are no exception. The first modern Olympics, known as Games of the I Olympiad were held in Athens, Greece from April 6th through 15th. As you can see the events were a total sausage fest since the French organizer, Pierre de Coubertin, believed the inclusion of women would be “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and incorrect.”
Only fourteen nations (300 athletes total) participated and ten of them received medals. The US had the most “gold” medals (which were actually silver at the time) with olive branches, while the host nation of Greece took home the most overall medals and laurel branches. Eighty thousand people were in attendance at the Panathinaiko Stadium to watch Athletics, Gymnastics, Weightlifting, and Wrestling. Other events included Swimming, Tennis, Shooting, Cycling, & Fencing; Rowing and Yachting were also scheduled, but cancelled due to poor weather conditions on the planned day of competition. There were no world records set because there was no selection process and any man who wanted to compete could step right up- some were even tourists who happened to be there. The marathon runners stopped at shops along the way to fuel themselves and the winner even had two glasses of wine. For more fun facts, check out the video below.
Video of the history of the 1986 Olympics.