Ancient Greeks began the tradition of celebrating athletic prowess and prestige in their Olympic Games, held every four years in honor of the mythological god Zeus. In 1896, the millennia-old tradition was revived into the modern Olympics. The first Games in the summer of 1896 included competitors from Europe and the United States and were held in Athens in tribute to the Games' origins. In subsequent years, the Olympics came to include athletes from nearly every country on Earth and, just like in ancient Greece, involve fierce competition and drama on and off the field.

LOOK: 20 Fascinating Photos From the First Modern Olympic Games in 1896

To celebrate the history of international sports cooperation, Stacker took a look back at that groundbreaking event in Athens, when the modern Olympics were born in 1896. Keep reading to learn more about the athletes, spectators, and sports at that iconic event.

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