Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Athens and the 1896 Olympic Games

The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in April 1896. Cecil Harcourt-Smith was the director of the BSA. Edward Frederic Benson was one of the students at the BSA and remembered the build-up to the events:
Athens took up the notion very warmly, for athletes of all nations would certainly flock there, in order to have the honour of competing with the Hellenes, whose forefathers had been the originators of contests in bodily prowess … Strings of young men in shorts trotted about the streets of Athens all day, occasionally bursting into sprints … one day I saw two stout and elderly gentlemen solemnly wresting together, by the columns of Zeus Olympios.

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