Essay on Development of the First Olympic Games
It was Pierre de Coubertin of France who dreamt up this ambitious project, although others before him had tried to revive these Games during the 19th century, without having Couperin’s success. Drawing inspiration from the ancient Olympic Games, he decided to create the modern Olympic Games. With this purpose, he founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894 in Paris. The new committee set itself the objective of organizing the first Olympic Games of modern times. In 1896, more than 1,500 years after the ancient Games were banned; the first modern Olympic Games featured many references to this legacy of Greek Antiquity. The IOC’s decision to hold them in Athens (Greece) was a reminder …show more content…
At the first modern Olympic Games there were no gold medals for the winners, nor were there separate awards ceremonies. (Gold medals were first distributed at the Olympic games of 1904 in Saint Louis.) Instead, all of the prizes were given out by King George at a special ceremony just prior to the closing ceremony on the last day of the Games.
All competitors in the Athens 1896 Games received some kind of award. In this way, the revived Games differed sharply from the ancient model, where only first place merited any kind of recognition. The official awards of the 1896 Olympics were a silver medal, crown of olive branches, and certificate for first place; a bronze medal, crown of laurel, and certificate for second place; and a commemorative medal for each athlete who competed.
The marathon race, however, was treated differently. Michel Bréal, who was fascinated by the legend of Phidippides, proposed "marathon run" for the first Olympic games. He promised a silver cup to the runner who could duplicate Phidippides' famous exploit (but without dying, of course). Lambros, a wealthy collector of Greek antiquities, offered an antique vase as a prize, to be added to Bréal's cup, for the marathon