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Athens 1896 - Quick hits


Greece's Spiridon Louis, the marathon winner, refused official refreshments after the race, instead preferring a few glasses of wine.

Royal respect

A Frenchman ran in the 100-meter dash sporting white gloves. "I'm running in front of the king," he explained.

Competing spectators

The exact number of Olympians is unknown because, at the last minute, some English tourists put their names down to take part in the tennis tournament. One of them was John Boland, who won the singles and the doubles finals after standing in for a sick player.

Silver medals

In 1896, Olympic champions were presented with a diploma, a crown made from olive twigs and a silver medal.

The first Olympic champion

America's James B. Connolly was the first athlete to win an Olympic event. He did so with a 13.71-meter height in the triple jump. Later, he finished second in the high jump and third in the long jump.

Generous benefactor

Greek benefactor George Averoff proposed his daughter's hand in marriage to marathon winner Spiridon Louis, who politely declined.

Natural talent

American Robert Garrett had never set eyes on a discus before arriving in Athens. But that didn't stop him as he won the event and the shot put event.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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