This poll/quiz question about the number of countries represented at the first modern Olympic Games has been superseded by the 1896 Athens Olympic Games Quiz. This page has been kept as it contains more information and a great discussion about the number countries participating at these Games.
The answer is 14 (maybe 13!). I originally believed 13 was the correct answer, but since then I have also found the information below that contradicted these figures. It may be anywhere from 10 tor 15.
The commonly listed countries are:
- Great Britain & Ireland
- United States
"The number, given by the International Olympic Committee, is open to interpretation and could be as few as 10 and as many as 15. There are numerous reasons for the disparity: National teams hardly existed at the time, and most athletes represented themselves or their clubs. In addition, countries were not always as well-defined as they are today. The number of countries here reflects the number used by most modern sources."
"Coubertin had difficulty getting interest in the Olympics among many of the nations of the world. Only 15 countries participated in the Athens 1896 Olympics. Many of the top athletes in the world did not compete, as the Games were not well advertised. The athletes who wished to compete had to pay their own way to Athens. In addition, the qualifying trials were conducted only in Greece."
"Three other nations had athletes entered in events at the 1896 Olympics, but these athletes never competed. The noncompeting nations were Belgium, Chile, and Russia. In addition, both Bulgaria and Serbia are often considered to have been represented at the 1896 Olympics. Charles Champaud was a Swiss national who competed in gymnastics in 1896, but was living and studying in Sofia, Bulgaria, at the time of the Olympics. He is often listed incorrectly as Bulgarian. Momcsilló Topavicza competed in tennis (lawn), weightlifting, and wrestling in 1896. He was from what is the current province of Vojvodina within the republic of Serbia in modern-day Yugoslavia. But in 1896 this was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and considered a part of Hungary."