The First Olympics: Athens 1896 - Netflix

Two-part miniseries about the founding of the modern Olympics, it concentrates on the creation of the American team and their trials in getting to the Olympics in Athens.

The First Olympics: Athens 1896 - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 118 minutes

Premier: 1984-05-20

The First Olympics: Athens 1896 - 1896 Summer Olympics - Netflix

The 1896 Summer Olympics (Greek: Θερινοί Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες 1896, Therinoí Olympiakoí Agónes 1896), officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, was the first international Olympic Games held in modern history. Organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which had been created by Pierre de Coubertin, it was held in Athens, Greece, from 6 to 15 April 1896. Winners were given a silver medal, while runners-up received a copper medal. Retroactively, the IOC has converted these to gold and silver, and awarded bronze medals to third placed athletes. Ten of the 14 participating nations earned medals. The United States won the most gold medals, 11; host nation Greece won the most medals overall, 46. The highlight for the Greeks was the marathon victory by their compatriot Spyridon Louis. The most successful competitor was German wrestler and gymnast Carl Schuhmann, who won four events. Athens had been unanimously chosen to stage the inaugural modern Games during a congress organised by Coubertin in Paris on 23 June 1894, during which the IOC was also created, because Greece was the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games. The main venue was the Panathenaic Stadium, where athletics and wrestling took place; other venues included the Neo Phaliron Velodrome for cycling, and the Zappeion for fencing. The opening ceremony was held in the Panathenaic Stadium on 6 April, during which most of the competing athletes were aligned on the infield, grouped by nation. After a speech by the president of the organising committee, Crown Prince Constantine, his father officially opened the Games. Afterwards, nine bands and 150 choir singers performed an Olympic Hymn, composed by Spyridon Samaras, with words by poet Kostis Palamas. The 1896 Olympics were regarded as a great success. The Games had the largest international participation of any sporting event to that date. The Panathenaic Stadium, the only Olympic stadium used in the 1800s, overflowed with the largest crowd ever to watch a sporting event. After the Games, Coubertin and the IOC were petitioned by several prominent figures, including Greece's King George and some of the American competitors in Athens, to hold all the following Games in Athens. However, the 1900 Summer Olympics were already planned for Paris and, except for the Intercalated Games of 1906, the Olympics did not return to Greece until the 2004 Summer Olympics, 108 years later.

The First Olympics: Athens 1896 - Athletics - Netflix

The athletics events had the most international field of any of the sports. The major highlight was the marathon, held for the first time in international competition. Spyridon Louis, a previously unrecognised water carrier, won the event to become the only Greek athletics champion and a national hero. Although Greece had been favoured to win the discus and the shot put, the best Greek athletes finished just behind the American Robert Garrett in both events. No world records were set, as few top international competitors had elected to compete. In addition, the curves of the track were very tight, making fast times in the running events virtually impossible. Despite this, Thomas Burke, of the United States, won the 100-meter race in 12.0 seconds and the 400-meter race in 54.2 seconds. Burke was the only one who used the “crouch start” (putting his knee on soil), confusing the jury. Eventually, he was allowed to start from this “uncomfortable position”. Australian competitor Edwin Flack came to Athens to watch the games, but decided to compete in the athletics events. He won two races—the 800-meter and the 1500-meter.

Chile claims one athlete, Luis Subercaseaux, competed for the nation at the 1896 Summer Olympics. This makes Chile one of the 14 nations to appear at the inaugural Summer Olympic Games. Subercaseaux's results are not listed in the official report, though that report typically includes only winners and Subercaseaux won no medals. A study conducted by Chilean forensic police decided (by use of facial recognition), that Subercaseaux was the participant in a famous photo of 100 meter's second series.

The First Olympics: Athens 1896 - References - Netflix

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