The first modern Olympic winner was an American called James Connolly. When he won the triple jump title, he telegraphed his family saying that ‘the Greeks have conquered Europe, but I have conquered the world!’
The major events at the first modern Olympics were athletics, shooting, and swimming. The major events kept changing at each of the Games. The hosts would always want to win as many events as possible, and so they would keep adding events in which their sportsmen excelled! They also preferred to add events that were popular with their people in order to draw more crowds.
Video: 6th April 1896: The First Modern Olympic Games
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Who was the marathon race winner of the modern Olympics?
As the first modern Olympics approached, the marathon race was viewed with interest, excitement, and concern. Eager to excel in the marathon, the Greeks held a race over the proposed Olympic course to select their team. According to some sources, as many as three Greek men died while training for the marathon!
On the afternoon of Friday, April 10, 1896, the seventeenth runner gathered on the Marathon Bridge to await the start of the first Olympic marathon. After an exciting race, it was a Greek, Spiridon Louis, who was the winner and he became a national hero instantly.