Google Doodle marking the 120th anniversary of the first modern Olympic games
Google
By Mark Rivett-Carnac
April 6, 2016

As the world gears up for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August, Google marked the 120th anniversary of the first modern games with a doodle on Wednesday.

Four drawings honor the sporting event that was resurrected in 1896 in Athens, Greece. For 10 days, 241 athletes from 14 nations competed in 43 events, some held inside the ancient Panathenaic Stadium. To the joy of the host nation, Greek athlete Spyridon Louis won the marathon by more than seven minutes, securing his place in the event’s long history.

The original competition can be traced back to 776 BC, when it was dedicated to the Greek god Zeus. Only freeborn, male Greeks could represent their cities in the sports, which included running, wrestling, boxing, the pentathlon and equestrian events. In 393 AD, Emperor Theodosius I brought an end to the games as part of a ban on pagan cults.

The modern Olympic games have grown exponentially over the decades. Spectators can expect to watch 10,500 male and female athletes from 206 countries compete in 306 medal events this summer.

Write to Mark Rivett-Carnac at mark.rivett-carnac@timeasia.com.

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