Madrid, April 5 (EFE). – The Olympic Games in the modern era turned 125 years old this Tuesday into a creature somewhat similar to the being born in Athena but struggling to preserve the basic values with which it was born, among which the ability to overcome that now depends on overcoming the blow of the epidemic.
Only for 14 countries, only nine sports, men only. These were the first games that took place between 6 and 15 April 1896 thanks to the wise initiative of French Pierre de Freddie, Baron de Coubertin. A century and a quarter later, they have established themselves as a multinational party par excellence after surviving wars, attacks, boycotts and diseases.
Athens versus Tokyo
After 1503 years of the ancient games being banned for religious reasons by Emperor Theodosius, Athens was the only option considered viable as the first place in the modern era. Since then, the Olympic Games have spread across the globe and the Games have been held in 23 cities on every continent except Africa. Tokyo will host the Games in 2021 for the second time, after the 1964 edition.
14 versus 206
Only 14 countries participated in the 1896 Games: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. In Tokyo 2020 (the Games maintains its name despite a one-year delay), there will be 206 countries at the opening ceremony, plus a team of refugees sponsored by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
241 versus 11.091
Representing these 14 countries, only 241 athletes compete in Athens. Most of them are Greeks. Now, 125 years later, it is expected that 1,1091 will participate. The largest delegations (the US and China) can exceed 500 members.
9 against 33
The nine sports accepted in the first games were athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, swimming, archery, weightlifting, Greco-Roman wrestling and tennis. They have all survived as Olympians into the 21st century. The Tokyo 2020 program includes 33 sports, including four newcomers; Surfing, Climbing, Karate and Skiing.
0% vs 49%
The International Olympic Committee awarded the Tokyo Olympics hexagonal “first with gender parity” by calculating that approximately 49% of the participants will be women. None of them competed in the 1896 edition. “I see it as impractical, uninteresting, not very aesthetic and not very correct,” said Coubertin of possible female participation. Women were admitted to the 1900 Games, although they were only accepted in “feminine” and aristocratic sports, such as tennis.
448,000 against 15,400,000,000
The approximate budget for the first games was $ 448,000. Greek millionaire George Averov donated about 120,000 to build the Olympic Stadium. The latest calculations by Tokyo 2020 regulators rose to 15,400 million, after a 19% increase driven by the epidemic. The sale of TV broadcast rights for games is currently the primary means of financing games.
Connolly vs. the shooter
The first Olympic champion in history was American athlete James B. Connolly, who won in Athens in 1896 the triple jump event with a score of 13.71 meters. The Tokyo 2020 calendar expects the first gold in this edition to be for Ramy, the winner of the 10m Air Rifle event.
Silver versus gold
Winners of the 1896 Olympic trials were awarded a silver medal and an olive crown. The Gold Medal that will Distinguish the Champions in Tokyo 2020 began to be used in St. Louis 1904.
Greek water versus super athlete in search for two hours
The star of the games’ opening version was Greek Spyridon Lewis, the winner of the marathon. Louis was a humble water carrier and, because of his stamina, caught the attention of his superiors when he did military service. For this reason, he was invited to participate in the test created to commemorate the Athenian soldier Philippides, who in 490 BC ran a distance of 40 kilometers separating the plain of Marathon and the city of Athens to report the victory of the commander Melquiades. On the armies of King Darius the First of Persia before he fell to the ground and died.
Spyridon Lewis covered the distance in 2 hours 58 minutes 50 seconds. The winner of the marathon at the Tokyo Games will be a professional runner, with great care and dedicated to years to prepare for the test, which is perhaps close to two hours away, one of the last obstacles still to be torn down on the athletics stage. EFE