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Today the Olympic Games is a global spectacle that captures the attention of the entire world and has the power to produce moments of individual courage and triumph that live on forever. But there was a time when reviving the ancient festival of sport was just a dream shared by a handful of dedicated sportsmen led by a determined French aristocrat named Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
The I Olympiad—Athens 1896, the second volume in The Olympic Century series, tells the story of the first modern Olympic Games and the essential role they played in launching the Modern Olympic Movement as it is known today. The book traces the origins of the Olympic revival back to the 17th Century, and follows Baron de Coubertin as he travels the world seeking the moral, political and financial support needed to stage the first Olympiad of the Modern Era. The focus then shifts to the 1896 Games themselves and the colourful assortment of athletes who participated, from the British embassy worker recruited to play tennis to the Danish strongman who participated in seven individual events in four different sports. The book concludes with the towering triumph of Spyridon Louis, the Greek peasant who, by claiming victory for the host country in the first-ever marathon, ensured the survival of the Modern Olympic Movement.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, 'The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published'.