AMAZING TRAVEL FACTS
With the exciting games taking place in Tokyo this year, did you know that during the first modern Olympics in Greece, many of the world’s top sportsmen were banned from participating? As a result, several tourists participated. The most famous was John Pius Boland, and Irishman, registered by a friend on the spot, who won singles and doubles in the tennis tournament. Amazing, right?
Do you know in which year these Olympics took place?
The first olympics took place on April 6 in 1896.
Despite the best efforts of Pierre de Coubertin and the newly formed International Olympic Committee, the 1896 games met with little fanfare outside of Greece.
Most counties didn’t bother to send official representatives, and a ban on professional athletes prevented many of the world’s top sportsmen from participating.
The U.S. team, for example, consisted of 13 college and amateur athletes who traveled to Athens on their own dime. “In effect we selected ourselves,” team member Thomas Curtis later wrote.
Many other competitors were local Greeks or even vacationers who chanced upon the contest and decided to sign up.
The most famous of these accidental Olympians was John Pius Boland, an Irishman who traveled to the games as a spectator and ended up participating after a friend registered him for the tennis competition. Boland had to scrounge a racket and take to the courts in leather-soled shoes, but he went on to claim victory in both the singles and doubles tournaments.
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