The first Olympic Games – level 3
Tuesday, April 6, 2021, marks the 125th anniversary of the first modern Olympic Games that took place in Athens, Greece, in 1896.
The ten-day event was officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad and it included 241 athletes from 14 countries, competing in 43 events. Participants were all European or living in Europe, with the exception of the US team, and over 60% of the competing athletes were Greek. An American, James Connolly, became the first champion of the modern Games, winning the triple jump. Winners were given a silver medal, while runners-up received a copper medal; however, the International Olympic Committee retroactively converted these to gold and silver, and awarded bronze medals to third placed athletes to comport with more recent traditions.
The 1896 Olympics were regarded as a great success, being the largest international participation of any sporting event to that date. The Olympics didn’t return to Greece until the 2004 Summer Olympics, 108 years later.
Difficult words: runner-up (a competitor or team taking second place in a contest), retroactive (taking effect from a date in the past), comport (to agree or correspond).
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