History of the Modern Olympics

Before the Modern Games

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.

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.

Alfred Hajos of Hungary Alfred Hajos of Hungary, who
winner of the first Olympic Games
Swimming Gold medal
(credit: public domain)

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.

The Games Begin

Olympic rings at PortlandOlympic flame lighting ceremony at Olympia, Greece


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The next Olympics will be the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, followed by the Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing. Check out the list of olympic sports, as well as discontinued and demonstration sports.

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