for the founders of the Modern Olympic Games
January 22, 2008
Modern Olympic Games
I write in reply to the article Guide to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (TMID, 22 January).
Baron Pierre de Coubertin was not the first to consider or implement the revival of the Olympic Games in modern times.
The first modern international Olympic Games took place in an Athens square in 1859 with participants from both Greece and the Ottoman Empire. The event was sponsored by the Greek philanthropist Evangelis Zappas. He paid for the refurbishment of the Panathenian stadium that has been used five times to host events at the Olympic Games including: 1870, 1875, 1896, 1906 and 2004.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin was born on 1 January 1863 and 30 years earlier the Greek newspaper editor and poet Panagiotis Soutsos wrote about the revival of the Olympic Games in his poetry Dialogue of the Dead.
The 1859 Games may not have had an Olympic stadium but then neither did Paris in 1900. The Athens Games did have one clear advantage over the Paris Games in that it was dedicated to sport and was not a side-show sports event at an Exposition.
Recommended reading by Zappas.org: