thumbnail On the rebirth of the Olympic Games
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On the rebirth of the Olympic Games © Lucky-photographer/Shutterstock
Today marks the 125th anniversary of the first modern Olympic Games, held in Athens in 1896—1,500 years after they were banned by the Roman emperor. (The original games were held at least as far back as 776 BCE and probably earlier.) The 1896 Games were held in the Panathenaic Stadium, in the shadow of the Acropolis of Athens, shown here. Those newly revived games of 1896 included athletes from 14 countries, with the largest delegations from Greece, Germany, France, and Great Britain. The 43 events included a marathon, tennis, cycling, fencing, shooting, Greco-Roman wrestling, and swimming. And while some things haven"t changed over the years, some were pretty different back then. Swimmers were taken out to sea by boat for the longer races and had to swim back to shore. Winners were given a silver medal (copper for second place), as well as an olive branch and a diploma.