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First Olympic Games

The earliest Olympic Games were held in Ancient Greece between 776 BC and 393 BC. Legends hold that the first Olympic Games were held in honor of the Greek king of gods, Zeus. Other legends say that Pelop initiated the games to celebrate his victory over Oinomaos.
Whatever the reason, the Olympic Games did act as a period of truce and harmony at a time when the Greek city-states or polis were constantly at war. In 393 BC the games were discontinued by Emperor Theodosius I. In the late nineteenth century French educationist Pierre de Coubertin sought to revive the Olympic Games to promote international peace and cooperation. The first Olympic Games of the modern times were held in 1896.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the celebrated French pedagogue, believed that overall education could be achieved only by training the youth in athletics. Inspired by the ideals of the ancient Olympic Games, Coubertin introduced the idea of reviving the games to the international community at a sports conference in Paris. With approval from all seventy nine delegates from nine countries at the conference, he formed the planning committee, the International Olympic Committee, in 1894. Coubertin became the President of the IOC. The committee decided to hold the first Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens. Athens was chosen to host the events as it represented the traditional origins of the game.

Most of the competitions of the 1896 Summer Olympics were held in Panathenaic Stadium at Athens. New cycling tracks were built at the Neo Phaliron Veldrome. Evangelos Zappas, the Greek philanthropist donated a lot of money towards building the Zappeion, the venue of the fencing events. The shooting events were held at the shooting range in Kallithea. While the tennis competitions were held at the Athens Lawn Tennis Club grounds, the swimming events were held in the open sea at the Bay of Zea, off the coast of Piraeus. Wrestling, weightlifting, and athletics were held at the main Panathenaic Stadium.

The Summer Olympics of 1896 were the most successful sporting event of the times. Fourteen different nations participated and over 245 athletes took part in the games. Australia, though not an independent nation, was listed independently among the participating countries. Austria-Hungary was a single political entity at the time, but Austria and Hungary sent in their own representative athletes and were awarded individually. Bulgaria, France, Italy, Sweden, United States of America, Switzerland, Denmark, and Germany were other participating countries at the 1896 Olympic Games. Great Britain participated in the events individually and not as part of the United Kingdom. Greece was the host nation and Greek participants were the home favorites. Carl Schuhmann of Germany won the most medals winning four events at the 1896 Olympic Games.

The Olympic events were held between April 6 and April 15, 1896. Nine sports and forty-two events were showcased in the 1896 Summer Olympics at Athens. The discus throw, shot put, 100 and 400 meter sprint, and the marathon were the key events of the athletics.  Spyridon Louis, a Greek national, won the marathon. American athlete Robert Garrett won the discus throw and shot put and Thomas Bruke won both sprint events. Other competitions that were held at the 1896 Summer Olympics were Fencing, Cycling, Wrestling, Tennis, Swimming, Shooting, Weightlifting, and Gymnastics.

Leon Flameng from France and Adolf Schmal from Australia won the 100 kilometer and twelve-hour cycling races respectively. In fencing the foil was won by Eugene-Henri Gravelotte of France and masters foil by Leonidas Pyrgos of Greece. The Germans put up a stellar performance at the gymnastic events. The horizontal bar  event was won by  Hermann Weingartner, the parallel bars event by Alfred Flatow, and the vault event by Carl Schuhmann. Other champions of the 1896 Olympic Games were John Paine, Sumner Paine, Ioannis Phrangoudis (shooting events), Alfred Hajos of Hungary, and Paul Neumann of Austria (swimming). Launceston Elliot won the one-armed weightlifting event while Viggo Jensen won the two-armed weightlifting event.
The spectacular success of the First Olympic Games in 1896 inspired more nations to participate in future Olympic Games.


Team USA defeated team Serbia to win its third straight basketball gold medal in Men’s Basketball tournament. The winning team’s coach Mike Krzyzewski was utmost delighted with his team’s victory on the final day of Rio 2016 Olympic Games. USA won by a 19-15 lead and this is their 25th straight victory at the Olympic Games in addition to the 15th straight victory in the basketball tournament. 

Mo Farah of Great Britain has bagged the gold by winning the 5000 meters final and completed the double double. According to media reports, with this victory Farah has become the second man in the history of Olympics to be able to successfully defend his 5000 and 10000 Olympic championships. His victory is being hailed on Twitter with some calling him the greatest long distance runner of all time. Meanwhile, the silver medal has gone to Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo and Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia has bagged the bronze.

In the women's event, Caster Semenya of South Africa won the Olympic gold in the 800m. She won in one minute 55.28 seconds.  Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi won the silver medal and Kenya's Margaret Nyairera Wambui bagged the bronze.

Chen Long of China has taken gold medal in the Rio Olympics 2016 after defeating Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, who has won a silver in men’s badminton today. Lee was facing pressure not to lose the match. He beat Lin Dan of China in the semi-final. Lee and Lin, both are considered to be the best players of their time. With Lee’s defeat, Malaysia has missed out the chance of getting an Olympic gold medal.


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