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ATHENS 1896
Country Greece
City Athens
Year 1896
Teams 14
Events 43
Athletes 214

About ATHENS 1896 Summer Olympics

Of the 13 nations who had responded to de Coubertin's invitation to Paris, and the 21 who had given written support, only 12 were represented in Athens. The nine sports on the Olympic programme were athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, lawn tennis, shooting, swimming, weightlifting and wrestling. A Greek architect Georgios Averoff picked up most of the bill and many of the competitors were simply tourists visiting Athens at the time. James Conolly of Boston, who dropped out from Harvard to go to Athens, became the first Olympic champion in 1,527 years when he won what was then known as the hop, step and jump. Athens crowds were fascinated by the "crouch" start of Americans Thomas Burke, who went on to get gold, and Thomas Curtis. A Greek shepherd, Spiridon Louis, won the first marathon over the same course covered by Greek hero Pheidippides after the battle of Marathon in 490 BC.