5 Interesting Facts About the First Modern Olympics

The Olympics have been going on for thousands of years. However, there was a large period of time in which they weren’t going on. The first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896. Today, the DFW homebuilders, CB JENI Homes, is sharing 5 facts about the first modern Olympics.

(Image via history.com)

1. Most Countries Didn’t Send Official Olympic Teams

Due to a ban on professional athletes competing in the Olympics, many of the world’s top sportsmen didn’t participate. The USA team consisted of 13 college and amateur athletes who traveled to Athens using their own money. In most cases, if they could afford to go, then they could compete.

2. Swimming Events Were Held in the Open Sea

While today’s swimming events are held in a regulation size pool, the 1896 swimming events took place in the Bay of Zea. Competitors were ferried out to a wooden raft and then raced toward shore using a string of floating, hollowed-out pumpkins as lane markers. Many athletes couldn’t finish the races due to the hypothermic temperatures of the water. 

3. The Winners Didn’t Get Gold Medals

The gold medals didn’t start until the 1904 Olympics. In the first games, only first and second place received a prize. First place would receive a silver medal, a certificate and an olive branch. The runner-up would be given a bronze medal and laurel branches.

4. It was the Only Olympics Without Female Competitors

Just like the ancient Olympic Games, the 1896 Olympic Games were only open to male athletes. However, women athletes would make their Olympic debut in the 1900 Olympics in Paris for golf and tennis.

5. An American Won the Discus Without Ever Throwing One Before

Even though he had never thrown a discus before, America’s own Robert Garrett threw the discus over 95 feet. This was a major upset in the Olympics, but it wouldn’t be the last. The American athletes would go on to claim first place in nine of the 12 events. 

The Olympics have always been a display of true athleticism, and so much has changed since the first modern Olympics in 1896. Learn more about the CB JENI Homes in DFW Texas, and visit the CB JENI Homes website today!