The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896, and commemorated in a series of Greek stamps. Discus-throwing, depicted on this stamp, was a part of both ancient and modern games. It was won by an American in 1896.

Stamp engraving by Louis-Eugene Mouchon, processed by A. Sdobnikov, courtesy Wikimedia

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  • On April 6, 1896, the first modern Olympic games opened in Athens, Greece. Fourteen countries participated, and the United States placed first overall with 11 first-place finishes.
    History tells us that the ancient games originated in Olympia, Greece, in 776 BCE. In those days, the only event held was a foot race, and only free men could compete—single women were allowed to watch. Events such as chariot racing, boxing, and the pentathlon were eventually added.
    Today, more than 25,000 athletes from all over the world compete in the Olympics. The Games rotate on a two-year cycle, alternating between winter and summer events. The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia; and the 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. While the Olympics are about encouraging sport and competition, the games also promote respect, peace, pride, preservation of resources, and building a better world for all.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    ancient Adjective

    very old.

    athlete Noun

    person who participates or competes in sporting events.

    boxing Noun

    sport of fighting with closed fists.

    chariot Noun

    vehicle with two or four wheels and pulled by horses.

    Olympics Noun

    international sports competition divided into summer and winter games held every four years.