I thought I would add this Historical notes thread to my other related thread.
1896 Athens, Greece
The Olympics had existed in ancient Greece for centuries before the Romans disbanded them in the fourth century. A Frenchman named Pierre De Coubertin came up with the idea of reviving the games and the first modern games were set for Athens in 1896. 14 nations sent 241 athletes to compete in 43 events in 9 sports.
The featured sport, of course was Athletics-Track and Field as we know it. The US dominated most of the Athletics events. James Connolly was the first Olympic champion in the 100 Meter Run. Other Americans who did well included Robert Garrett, Thomas Burke, Thomas Curtis, and Ellary Clark.
Two non Americans also shone. Edwin Flack of Australia won the 800 and 1500. And in the first Olympic Marathon, set on the route Pheidippides took from Marathon to Athens to pronounce victory in the Battle of Marathon, was won by Greek shepherd boy Spiridon Louis, to the thrill of the local fans. It was Greece's only Athletics gold.
Another set of American heroes were the Paine brothers, John and Sumner, who each won gold in Shooting.
Overall, the US won 11 Gold medals to top the list. The host country won the most medals with 46.