The Olimpic Games
The Olimpic Games - The overall tally for events on the programme was 301 (one more than in Sydney 2000). Popularity in the Games reached soared to new highs as 3.9 billion people had access to the television coverage compared to 3.6 billion for Sydney 2000.
The Olimpic Games - Women's wrestling was included in the program for the first time. Swimmer Michael Phelps won 6 gold medals and set a single-Games record with 8 total medals. Leontien Ziljaard-van Moorsel became the first female cyclist to earn 4 career gold medals and 6 total medals, while canoeist Birgit Fischer became the first athlete in any sport to win two medals in each of 5 Olympics.
Runner Hicham El Guerrouj won both the 1,500m and the 5,000m, while on the women's side Kelly Holmes triumphed in both the 800m and the 1,500m. In team play, Argentina won the men's football tournament without giving up a goal, and the U.S. softball team won by outscoring their opponents 51-1.
The revival of the ancient Olympics attracted athletes from 14 nations, with the largest delegations coming from Greece, Germany, France and Great Britain. On 6 April 1896, the American James Connolly won the triple jump to become the first Olympic champion in more than 1,500 years. Winners were awarded a silver medal and an olive branch.
The German athlete Carl Schumann finished in the top five events of three different sports. The people of Athens greeted the Games with great enthusiasm. Their support was rewarded when a Greek shepherd, Spyridon Louis, won the most popular event, the marathon.
14 NOCs (Nations)
241 athletes (0 women, 241 men)
The 1908 Olympics were originally awarded to Rome, but were reassigned to London. At the Opening Ceremony, the athletes marched into the stadium by nation, as most countries sent selected national teams. Archers William and Charlotte Dod became the first brother and sister medalists. Oscar Swahn, aged 60, was the oldest ever competitor to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the running deer shooting, single shot.
1908 marked the first appearance of diving and field hockey. In the spirit of sportsmanship, the final in middleweight Greco-Roman wrestling between Frithiof Martensson and Mauritz Andersson was postponed one day to allow Martensson to recover from a minor injury. Martensson won. Ray Ewry won the standing high jump and the standing long jump for the third time and became the only person in Olympic history to win a career total of eight gold medals in individual events.
The event that caught the public imagination around the world was the dramatic ending of the marathon. After 42 kilometres (26 miles) of running, the first man to enter the stadium was Dorando Pietri of Italy, but he collapsed on the track five times and was disqualified when officials carried him across the finish line.
22 NOCs (Nations)
2,008 athletes (37 women, 1,971 men)
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