The 1896 Summer Olympics were the first celebration of the modern
Olympic Games, after the Ancient Olympic Games had been cancelled by
Roman emperor Theodosius in AD 393. At a 1894 congress organized by
Pierre de Coubertin in Paris, the International Olympic Committee was
established, and the Greek capital of Athens was appointed as the host
city of the first modern Olympics. The Greeks had little experience
with organizing sports events, and initially had financial troubles as
well, but managed to have everything ready in time. Although the
number of participating athletes was low by today's standards, it had
the largest international participation for any sports event to that
date. The athletic highlight for the Greeks was the marathon victory
by their compatriot Spiridon Louis. The most successful competitor in
terms of victories was German wrestler and gymnast Carl Schuhmann.
Barring the so-called Intercalated Games of 1906, the Olympics did not
return to Greece until the 2004 Summer Olympics.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
The Pazzi Conspiracy: Giuliano di Piero and Lorenzo de' Medici were
attacked in Florence.
Boston Corbett shot and killed John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of U.S.
President Abraham Lincoln.
The Gestapo, the official secret police force in Nazi Germany, was
Spanish Civil War: The bombing of Guernica in Spain by the Legión
Cóndor resulted in a devastating firestorm.
Chernobyl accident: A nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, Ukraine suffered a
steam explosion, resulting in a fire and a nuclear meltdown.
Wikiquote of the day:
"If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent
would ever get done." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein