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History of the Modern Olympics

The history of the Olympic Games goes back many centuries. The first recorded ancient Olympic Games were held in 776 BC, held in Olympia, Greece (read more about the Ancient Olympic Games). The Ancient Olympics continued every four years, finishing about 394 AD.

Olympic flame lighting ceremony at Olympia, GreeceOlympic flame lighting ceremony at Olympia, Greece

In modern times, the 'Wenlock Games', officially called the Wenlock Olympian Society Annual Games, dated from 1850, and was a forerunner of the modern Olympic Games which did not start until almost 50 years later. The Wenlock Games are still held annually in the Shropshire village of Much Wenlock, England. In honor of this, one of the Olympic mascots for the London 2012 Summer Olympics was named Wenlock.

In 1894, a French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin, proposed a revival of the ancient tradition, and thus the modern-day Olympic Summer Games were born.

Timeline of the Modern Olympic Games


You can read information about the history of each host country.

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Olympics Extra

The next Olympics will be in Paris 2024, followed by the Winter edition in Milan-Cortina 2026. Check out the list of Olympic Games sports, as well as discontinued and demonstration sports.

Major Events Extra

The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

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