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1896 Summer Olympics

The 1896 Summer Olympics known as the Games of the I Olympiad, was the first international Olympic Games held in modern history. Organised by the International Olympic Committee, created by Pierre de Coubertin, it was held in Athens, from 6 to 15 April 1896. Fourteen nations and 241, all male, athletes took part in the games. Participants were all European, or living in Europe, with the exception of the United States team. Winners were given a silver medal. Retroactively, the IOC has converted these to gold and silver, awarded bronze medals to third placed athletes. Ten of the 14 participating nations earned medals; the United States won the most gold medals, 11, host nation Greece won the most medals overall, 46. The highlight for the Greeks was the marathon victory by their compatriot Spyridon Louis; the most successful competitor was German wrestler and gymnast Carl Schuhmann. Over 65% of the competing athletes were Greek. Athens had been unanimously chosen to stage the inaugural modern Games during a congress organised by Coubertin in Paris on 23 June 1894, during which the IOC was created, because Greece was the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games.

The main venue was the Panathenaic Stadium. The opening ceremony was held in the Panathenaic Stadium on 6 April, during which most of the competing athletes were aligned on the infield, grouped by nation. After a speech by the president of the organising committee, Crown Prince Constantine, his father opened the Games. Afterwards, nine bands and 150 choir singers performed an Olympic Hymn, composed by Spyridon Samaras, with words by poet Kostis Palamas; the 1896 Olympics were regarded as a great success. The Games had the largest international participation of any sporting event to that date; the Panathenaic Stadium overflowed with the largest crowd to watch a sporting event. After the Games and the IOC were petitioned by several prominent figures, including Greece's King George and some of the American competitors in Athens, to hold all the following Games in Athens. However, the 1900 Summer Olympics were planned for Paris and, except for the Intercalated Games of 1906, the Olympics did not return to Greece until the 2004 Summer Olympics, 108 years later.

During the 19th century, several small-scale sports festivals across Europe were named after the Ancient Olympic Games. The 1870 Olympics at the Panathenaic stadium, refurbished for the occasion, had an audience of 30,000 people. Pierre de Coubertin, a French pedagogue and historian, adopted Dr William Penny Brookes' idea to establish a multi-national and multi-sport event—the ancient games only allowed male athletes of Greek origin to participate. In 1890, Coubertin wrote an article in La Revue Athletique, which espoused the importance of Much Wenlock a rural market town in the English county of Shropshire, it was here that, in October 1850, the local physician William Penny Brookes had founded the Wenlock Olympian Games, a festival of sports and recreations that included athletics and team sports, such as cricket and quoits. Coubertin took inspiration from the earlier Greek games organised under the name of Olympics by businessman and philanthropist Evangelis Zappas in 1859, 1870 and 1875.

The 1896 Athens Games were funded by the legacies of Evangelis Zappas and his cousin Konstantinos Zappas and by George Averoff, requested by the Greek government, through crown prince Constantine, to sponsor the second refurbishment of the Panathenaic Stadium. This the Greek government did despite the fact that the cost of refurbishing the stadium in marble had been funded in full by Evangelis Zappas forty years earlier. With deep feeling towards Baron de Coubertin's courteous petition, I send him and the members of the Congress, with my sincere thanks, my best wishes for the revival of the Olympic Games. On 18 June 1894, Coubertin organised a congress at the Sorbonne, Paris, to present his plans to representatives of sports societies from 11 countries. Following his proposal's acceptance by the congress, a date for the first modern Olympic Games needed to be chosen. Coubertin suggested. Concerned that a six-year waiting period might lessen public interest, congress members opted instead to hold the inaugural Games in 1896.

With a date established, members of the congress turned their attention to the selection of a host city. It remains a mystery how Athens was chosen to host the inaugural Games. In the following years both Coubertin and Demetrius Vikelas would offer recollections of the selection process that contradicted the official minutes of the congress. Most accounts hold that several congressmen first proposed London as the location, but Coubertin dissented. After a brief discussion with Vikelas, who represented Greece, Coubertin suggested Athens. Vikelas made the Athens proposal official on 23 June, since Greece had been the original home of the Olympics, the congress unanimously approved the decision. Vikelas was elected the first president of the newly established International Olympic Committee. News that the Olympic Games would return to Greece was well received by the Greek public and royal family. According to Coubertin, "the Crown Prince Constantine learned with great pleasure that the Games will be inaugurated in Athens."

Coubertin went on to confirm that, "the King and the Crown Prince will confer their patronage on the holding of these games." Co

Allyn Condon

Allyn Condon is an English former sprinter and bobsleigher. At the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010 he became the seventh person to have competed for Great Britain in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games having competed in the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Allyn Condon is the only British athlete in the 21st century to have competed at both summer and winter Olympic Games, he is one of only seven athletes in history to have achieved the summer and winter Olympic double. Allyn has just launched an exciting new boutique fitness club Luxe Fitness in Bristol and will be involved in rolling out clubs across the UK. Condon has been coached by his father Morris Condon since the age of 10 years, he showed a talent for athletics at an early age when he won two gold medals at the European Youth Olympics in Brussels in 1991 at the age of 16 and was part of the winning 4 x 400 metres relay team at the European Junior Championships in the same year. In 1992 he ran first leg in the 4 x 100 metres relay team that took gold at the World Junior Championships in South Korea, breaking the European junior record in the process.

He became one of the youngest sportsmen to be selected to compete for Great Britain at the World Cup in Cuba were at the age of 18 he won a bronze medal, his first as a senior athlete. He was the 200 metres bronze medalist at the 1998 European Athletics Indoor Championships and won 4 × 100 m relay gold medals at the 1998 European Cup and 1998 IAAF World Cup and 1998 European Athletics Championships. In 1998 he represented England in the 200 metres event, at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; the following year he won a 4 × 100 m relay bronze at the 1999 IAAF World Indoor Championships and outdoors won the a silver medal in the event at the 1999 World Championships in Athletics. At that competition he ran first leg in the 4 × 400 m relay team that broke the British indoor record and won a bronze medal, he still is still ranked 5th on the UK all time 200 m indoor rankings. In 2000 he was selected for his first Olympic Games in Sydney where he competed as part of the 4 × 100 m relay team.

In August 2001 after competing for Sale Harriers Manchester in a league competition, Allyn collapsed and was rushed into hospital with renal failure and endocarditis. After spending six weeks in hospital, doctors told Allyn. After a short time out of the sport, he got back to full fitness and in August became the 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medalist in Manchester in the 4 × 100 m relay. Condon flew out to Munich as part of the Great Britain Team for the 2002 European Athletics Championships, but after a dispute with the team management over selection returned home before the event had taken place. After an international athletics career, inspired by the film Cool Runnings, he changed from track and field in 2006 to take on the challenge of bobsleigh. During his first year in the sport he became a first team regular in both the two-man and four-man events, his best finish at the FIBT World Championships was fifth in the four-man event at St. Moritz in 2007. Condon's best World Cup finish was tenth in a four-man event at Winterberg in 2008.

In 2008 during a race in Germany he hurt his back and returned home to the UK. After having his back scanned, surgeons found he had ruptured an artery on his lower spine and this brought an abrupt end to the season ahead, he returned to the sport in 2009 when the team struggled to find any kind of form on the World cup circuit and had a disappointing World Championships finish. In 2010 after a season of selection upsets, he was selected to represent Great Britain at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games; as a bobsledder, Condon finished 17th in the four-man event at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver alongside former track and field teammate Dan Money. A 150 km/h crash that put the Great Britain team on their heads on the bend named 50/50 prevented the four-man team from achieving a top eight finish. Allyn Condon at the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation Allyn Condon at World Athletics