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Baron De Coubertin inspires the first modern Games
Baron De Coubertin inspires the first modern Games
The first of the modern Olympic Games was staged in Athens, Greece, although financial difficulties almost saw it staged in Budapest, Hungary.

Initially it was intended that Paris would host the first Olympics in 1900, but Athens was chosen four years earlier, though Greece ran into financial difficulties before the Games could begin.

With Hungary preparing for its millennium celebrations, Budapest repeatedly offered to step in as a replacement but the Crown Prince Constantine of Greece set up an organising committee and the donations began to flood in.

Just over 200 men, representing 14 countries competed in a total of 43 events.

The majority of the participants were from the host nation with tennis, track and field, fencing, weightlifting, cycling, wrestling, shooting, swimming and gymnastics all contested.

Cricket and soccer tournaments were cancelled due to a lack of participating teams while rowing and sailing competitions fell victim to poor weather.

Event winners received a silver medal, a certificate and a crown of olive leaves. Runners-up were given bronze medals and a crown of laurel while third placed participants went home empty handed.

The first Olympic winner was American James Brendan Connolly who took the triple jump with a leap of 13.71 metres.

With the enthusiasm of the Greek people the Games were deemed a great success and as a result Greece expected to host the next celebration.

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