The first so called modern Olympic Games were to be organized by a revitalized International Olympic Committee established on June 23, 1894 in Switzerland by Pierre de Coubertin.
In 1896, a Summer Olympics were held in Athens, Greece.
The IOC then decided to schedule an International Olympic Games every four years, with intermediate games held in Athens in between the International Games.
In 1900, the International Olympic Games were held in Paris, France along with the World’s Fair known as the Exposition Universelle.
Then in 1904, the International Olympic Games were held in St. Louis along with the World’s Fair known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
Neither of these Games went over well, even though women for the first time participated in the Games.
Then in 1906, the “Second International Olympic Games, ” now known as the 1906 Intercalated Games were held once again in Athens (so called because they were the second intermediate games held within the third Olympiad).
The 1906 Games opened on April 22, 1906 in the Panathinaiko Stadium.
Then 854 athletes, 848 men and 6 women, from 20 countries, competed in 78 events in 14 disciplines comprising 12 sports during the 1906 Intercalated Games.
On May 2, 1906, the first ever Olympic Closing Ceremony was held which included some six thousand schoolchildren.
These successful Games, however, were not officially recognized by the IOC.
What these Games did garner, were a broad international field of participants which in turn generated great public interest in modern Olympic Games for the following reasons;
- The 1906 Games events were not stretched out over months.
- The 1906 Games were not overshadowed by an international exhibition.
- The 1906 Games new format of an Opening and Closing ceremony became instrumental in the popularity and size of modern Olympic Games. For the first time, athletes marched into the stadium as part of national teams following their respective nation’s flag. This was also the first time that the flag of the victors nation was raised in the award ceremony.
- The 1906 Games were also the first to provide an Olympic Village for the participants.
Today, the medals distributed to the participants of the 1906 Games are not officially recognized by the IOC and are not displayed with the collection of Olympic medals that the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
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