History of Olympics

  • Athens Games

    The first modern Olympic Games. 14 countries are represented by about 245 men, competing in 43 events. No women compete, as de Coubertin feels that their inclusion would be "impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and incorrect."
  • Paris Games

    The second modern Games are overshadowed by, and incorporated into, the Paris Exposition. 1,319 men from 26 countries compete in 75 events, although it's not entirely clear—even to some of the participants—which events are actually part of the Olympics. Eleven women are allowed to compete in lawn tennis and golf.
  • London Games

    The 1906 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius requires the Games to move from Rome to London. For the first time, athletes march into the stadium behind their nations' flags. There are more than 2,000 competitors in more than 100 events. Italian Dorando Pietri needs to be helped across the finish line of the marathon, but is declared the winner before being disqualified in favor of Johnny Hayes of the U.S.
  • Antwerp Games

    The Olympic flag is introduced, as is the Olympic oath. Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Turkey are not invited, having been on the wrong side of the Great War. Distance runner Paavo Nurmi wins three medals for Finland. Figure-skating events are held for the second time, and ice hockey for the first. Philip Noel-Baker of Great Britain takes the silver in the 1500-meter dash; he later becomes the only Olympian ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Amsterdam Games

    The Olympic flame is introduced. Germany returns. Paavo Nurmi picks up three more medals, including one gold. Women compete in track and field events for the first time; however, so many collapse at the end of the 800-meter race that the event is banned until 1960. Luigina Giavotti becomes the youngest medalist of all time, helping the Italian gymnastics team pick up a silver at 11 years and 302 days old.
  • FIFA

    The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) holds soccer's first World Cup tournament in Montevideo, Uruguay, largely due to the Olympics' restrictions against professional athletes. The World Cup is held every four years from this time onward, excepting World War II years.
  • Berlin Games

    The first-ever relay of the Olympic torch. The Games are the first to be televised, being shown on large screens around Berlin. Basketball is admitted as an Olympic sport for the first time. In the final—played on a dirt court in the rain, making dribbling impossible—the United States team beats Canada 19–8. Denmark's 12-year-old Inge Sorensen wins a bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke, making her the youngest medalist ever in an individual event.
  • London Games

    The first Games to be shown on home television. Germany and Japan aren't invited, but a record 59 other countries attend. Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen wins four gold medals, the equivalents of the ones Jesse Owens had won twelve years earlier. She holds the world records in the high and long jumps, but does not compete in those, as rules prohibit women from competing in more than three individual events.
  • Rome Summer Games

    The first Summer Games covered by television worldwide. A record 5,348 athletes from 83 countries compete. 18-year-old boxer Cassius Clay—later to be known as Muhammad Ali—is the light heavyweight boxing champion Read more: Olympics Timeline: 1950s to the 1980s — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/olympicstimeline2.html#ixzz1mZBWAA4v
  • Munich Summer Games

    The Olympic Oath is taken by a referee for the first time. Mark Spitz sets seven world records and wins seven gold medals in swimming events. The Games are overshadowed when members of the Black September terrorist group kidnap eleven Israeli athletes from the Olympic Village, killing two and taking the other nine hostage. During a failed rescue attempt by German authorities, the remaining athletes and all but three of the terrorists are killed. Read more: Olympics Timeline: 1950s to the 19
  • Moscow Summer Games

    The first Games to be held in a communist country. Due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Carter calls upon the U.S. Olympic Committee to boycott the Games. The Olympic Charter requires such committees to "resist all pressures of any kind whatsoever, whether of a political, religious or economic nature," but theory and practice diverge; the Americans stay home, and many other countries follow suit.
  • Barcelona Games

    For the first time in decades, every single nation with an Olympic Committee shows up, even Cuba, North Korea, and South Africa. A record 172 nations participate, represented by 10,563 athletes. With the door open to professional athletes, the U.S. sends a Dream Team including Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Karl Malone. As expected, they go undefeated.
  • Athens Games

    The Games return to Greece.
  • Beijing Summer Games

    The 2008 Summer Games ended on Aug. 24 with the United States, China, and Russia taking home the most medals. Despite skepticism, the Beijing Games were widely praised as a success.