for the founders of the Modern Olympic Games
June 13, 2004
IN his article about the 1896 Athens Olympics, Michael Llewellyn Smith fails to mention that the first modern Olympic Games in Athens were held in 1859, the second in 1870 and the third in 1875.
More Olympic Games have been held in Athens, in modern times, than in any other Olympic city in the world when you count the first International Olympic Committee Olympics held in 1896 and the Interim Games held in 1906.
Dr William Penny Brookes, who inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin (who went on to found the International Olympic Committee in 1894), was also inspired by the Games held in Athens in 1859. Dr Brookes sent prize money that was awarded at those Games and the first person on the honorary roll of the Wenlock Olympian Society, founded in 1860, was the Greek who won that prize.
Nor is it mentioned that Evangelis Zappas paid for the refurbishment of the Panathenian Stadium that was used for the Olympics in 1870, 1875, 1896 and 1906. It was Zappas, once again, who paid for the building of the first indoor Olympic arena (called the Zappeion) used for the fencing events in 1896.
The Greek government of the time squandered the monies earmarked for the stadium on two separate refurbishments and it was necessary for another wealthy philanthropist, George Averoff, to step in to complete the refurbishment. Other funds were raised for the refurbishment through the sale of the first Olympic commemorative stamp set.
Recommended reading by Zappas.org: