Summer Olympics 776 BCE to Present Day

Olympic Rings LogoThis timeline details the Summer Olympics from 776 BCE to Present Day and includes details, host countries and top 3 countries.

See also Winter Olympics

776BCE – Athens, Greece
First recorded evidence of the ancient Olympic games. The games were held at Olympia every four years during the summer. There was only one event – the men’s 200m sprint.
490BCE Greece
The Marathon was introduced after Pheidippedes ran 42km from Sparta to Athens to bring the news of the Greek victory at the battle of Marathon.
424BCE Greece
The continuing war against the Spartans meant that there were fewer atheletes able to compete in the games and they began to fall into decline.
394CE
The Roman Emperor, Theodosius I, abolished the games claiming they were a pagan event.
1612 Cotswold Olympick Games
These games, based on the ancient Olympic games were founded by Robert Dover, a barrister, and included horse racing, fencing, shin-kicking and throwing the hammer.
1766
Richard Chandler found Ancient Olympia. This brought renewed interest in the Olympic competition that had been held there in ancient times.
1796
There was renewed interest in the Olympic competition in France and L’Olympiade de la République, an olympic-style yearly competition was held between 1796 and 1798 in France.
1850 Wenlock Olympian Games
An Olympic-style yearly sports festival was established in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, UK by Dr William Penny Brookes. It continues to this day.
1859 Zappian Games
Dr William Penny Brookes, founder of the Wenlock Olympian Games, persuaded Greek Evangelis Zappas to stage a revival of the ancient Olympic games. Brookes sent £10 to be used as prize money.
1875
Germany funded a team of archeologists to excavate the site of ancient Olympia.
1890
Dr William Penny Brooks invited the Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin to attend the Much Wenlock games.
1894
The International Olympic Committee was founded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin who took the title of President. Coubertin suggested that the Olympics should be re-established and that it should be held every four years but hosted by a different country each time.
1896 – Athens Greece
The first modern Olympic games was held in Athens, Greece.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 11 gold, 7 silver, 2 bronze, total = 20
2nd Greece (GRE) 10 gold, 17 silver, 19 bronze, total = 46
3rd Germany (GER) 6 gold, 5 silver, 2 bronze, total = 13
1900 – Paris, France
Women competed for the first time in these Olympics which saw Swimming events held in the River Seine.
Medals Table
1st France (FRA) 26 gold, 41 silver, 34 bronze, total = 101
2nd United States (USA) 19 gold, 14 silver, 14 bronze, total = 47
3rd Great Britain (GBR) 15 gold, 6 silver, 9 bronze, total = 30
1904 – St Louis, USA
Gold, silver and bronze medals were introduced. Winners of events were given a gold medal, second place a silver medal and third place a bronze medal.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 78 Gold, 82 Silver, 79 Bronze, total = 239
2nd Germany (GER) 4 Gold, 4 Silver, 5 Bronze, total = 13
3rd Cuba (CUB) 4 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze, total = 9
1908 – London, UK
For the first time the Olympics take place in a purpose built stadium. Figure skating was introduced as an Olympic sport and Australia and New Zealand competed together as Australasia. Athletes paraded behind their flags in the opening ceremony for the first time.
Medals Table
1st Great Britain (GBR) 56 Gold, 51 Silver, 39 Bronze, total = 146
2nd United States (USA) 23 Gold, 12 Silver, 12 Bronze, total = 47
3rd Sweden (SWE) 8 Gold, 6 Silver, 11 Bronze, total = 25
1912 – Stockholm, Sweden
Athletes from 5 continents – Africa, Americas, Asia, Australasia and Europe – took part. A public address system and electric timing devices were used for the first time. The Decathlon and Pentathlon were introduced for the first time.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 25 Gold, 19 Silver, 19 Bronze, total = 63
2nd Sweden (SWE) 24 Gold, 24 Silver, 17 Bronze, total = 65
3rd Great Britain (GBR) 10 Gold, 15 Silver, 16 Bronze, total = 41
1914
Pierre de Coubertin designed the Olympic symbol of 5 interlocking rings to signify the 5 continents – Africa, Americas, Asia, Australasia and Europe
1916
Due to be held in Berlin this games was cancelled due to World War One
1920 – Antwerp, Belgium
The Olympic rings symbol was depicted on a flag with a white background. It was called the Olympic Flag and has been used at every games since. The Olympic Oath was also introduced during this games. Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary and Turkey were not allowed to take part because they were defeated in World War One
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 41 Gold, 27 Silver, 27 Bronze, total = 95
2nd Sweden (SWE) 19 Gold, 20 Silver, 25 Bronze, total = 64
3rd Great Britain (GBR) 15 Gold, 15 Silver, 13 Bronze, total = 43
1924 – Paris, France
The games returned to Paris France. Austria, Bulgaria, Germany and Hungary were allowed to compete again. Johnny Weissmuller won 3 gold medals and 1 bronze for swimming.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 45 Gold, 27 Silver, 27 Bronze, total = 99
2nd Finland (FIN) 14 Gold, 13 Silver, 10 Bronze, total = 37
3rd France (FRA) 13 Gold, 15 Silver, 10 Bronze, total = 38
1928 – Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Olympic flame was lit for the first time and burned throughout the entire competition. At the opening ceremony Greece led the athletes procession with the host nation at the end for the first time. Germany was allowed to compete again.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 22 Gold, 18 Silver, 16 Bronze, total = 56
2nd Germany (GER) 10 Gold, 7 Silver, 14 Bronze, total = 31
3rd Finland (FIN) 8 Gold, 8 Silver, 9 Bronze, total = 25
1932 – Los Angeles, USA
First use of a photo finish camera. First time winners stood on a tiered stand with national flags raised above them
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 41 Gold, 32 Silver, 30 Bronze, total = 103
2nd Italy (ITA) 12 Gold, 12 Silver, 12 Bronze, total = 36
3rd France (FRA) 10 Gold, 5 Silver, 4 Bronze, total = 19
1936 – Berlin, Germany
First Olympic Torch relay and first Olympics to be televised, however the footage could only be watched on local television. Basketball became an Olympic sport for the first time and was won by the USA. Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals in athletics.
Medals Table
1st Germany (GER) 33 Gold, 26 Silver, 30 Bronze, total = 89
2nd United States (USA) 24 Gold, 20 Silver, 12 Bronze, total = 56
3rd Hungary (HUN) 10 Gold, 1 Silver, 5 Bronze, total = 16
1940
Cancelled due to World War Two
1944
Cancelled due to World War Two
1948 – London, UK
Dubbed the ‘Austerity Games’ as there was no money to fund a lavish spectacle. Germany and Japan were not invited. Fanny Blankers-Koen won four gold medals in athletics.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 38 Gold, 27 Silver, 19 Bronze, total = 84
2nd Sweden (SWE) 16 Gold, 11 Silver, 17 Bronze, total = 44
3rd France (FRA) 10 Gold, 6 Silver, 13 Bronze, total = 29
1952 – Helsinki , Finland
Czech athlete Emil Zátopek set new World records in the 5,000 metres, 10,000 metres and Marathon.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 40 Gold, 19 Silver, 17 Bronze, total = 76
2nd Soviet Union (URS) 22 Gold, 30 Silver, 19 Bronze, total = 71
3rd Hungary (HUN) 16 Gold, 10 Silver, 16 Bronze, total = 42
1956 – Melbourne, Australia
Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt boycotted the games in protest at the British, French and Israeli invasion of Egypt (Suez Crisis) Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland boycotted the games in protest at the Soviet invasion of Hungary The People’s Republic of China boycotted the games in protest at the games’ recognition of Formosa (now Taiwan)
Medals Table
1st Soviet Union (URS) 37 Gold, 29 Silver, 32 Bronze, total = 98
2nd United States (USA) 32 Gold, 25 Silver, 17 Bronze, total = 74
3rd Australia (AUS) 13 Gold, 8 Silver, 14 Bronze, total = 35
1960 – Rome, Italy
Many events took place in the ancient ruins around the city.
Medals Table
1st Soviet Union (URS) 43 Gold, 29 Silver, 31 Bronze, total = 103
2nd United States (USA) 34 Gold, 21 Silver, 16 Bronze, total = 71
3rd Italy (ITA) 13 Gold, 10 Silver, 13 Bronze, total = 36
1964 – Tokyo, Japan
First Olympics held in Asia
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 36 Gold, 26 Silver, 28 Bronze, total = 90
2nd Soviet Union (URS) 30 Gold, 31 Silver, 35 Bronze, total = 96
3rd Japan (JPN) 16 Gold, 5 Silver, 8 Bronze, total = 29
1968 Mexico City, Mexico
First Olympics held in Central America. Tommie Smith and John Carlos both give the ‘black power’ salute as the US national anthem is played in protest against racial prejudice in America.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 45 Gold, 28 Silver, 34 Bronze, total = 107
2nd Soviet Union (URS) 29 Gold, 32 Silver, 30 Bronze, total = 91
3rd Japan (JPN) 11 Gold, 7 Silver, 7 Bronze, total = 25
1972 – Munich, Germany
Black September terrorists killed 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. Mark Spitz won 7 gold medals in swimming setting new World records for each.
Medals Table
1st Soviet Union (URS) 50 Gold, 27 Silver, 22 Bronze, total = 99
2nd United States (USA) 33 Gold, 31 Silver, 30 Bronze, total = 94
3rd East Germany (GDR) 20 Gold, 23 Silver, 23 Bronze, total = 66
1976 – Montreal, Canada
31 nations boycotted the games as a protest against the New Zealand rugby team’s recent game with South Africa Increased costs together with a reduced number of visitors nearly bankrupted Montreal. Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci scored a record 7 10s and won 3 gold medals, 1 silver and 1 bronze.
Medals Table
1st Soviet Union (URS) 49 Gold, 41 Silver, 35 Bronze, total = 125
2nd East Germany (GDR) 40 Gold, 25 Silver, 25 Bronze, total = 90
3rd United States (USA) 34 Gold, 35 Silver, 25 Bronze, total = 94
1980 – Moscow, Soviet Union
61 Nations refused to compete in these games as a protest against Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.
Medals Table
1st Soviet Union (URS) 80 Gold, 69 Silver, 46 Bronze, total = 195
2nd East Germany (GDR) 47 Gold, 37 Silver, 42 Bronze, total = 126
3rd Bulgaria (BUL) 8 Gold, 16 Silver, 17 Bronze, total = 41
1984 – Los Angeles, USA
15 communist block countries refused to compete in these games in retaliation for the boycott of the Moscow Olympics 4 years earlier. Romania was the only communist block country to take part and came 2nd in the medals table. The games are privately sponsored for the first time and Carl Lewis won 4 gold medals in athletics.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 83 Gold, 61 Silver, 30 Bronze, total = 174
2nd Romania (ROU) 20 Gold, 16 Silver, 17 Bronze, total = 53
3rd West Germany (FRG) 17 Gold, 19 Silver, 23 Bronze, total = 59
1988 – Seoul, South Korea
11 medalists disqualified for using banned substances. The cost of the games was met by the sale of TV broadcasting rights.
Medals Table
1st Soviet Union (URS) 55 Gold, 31 Silver, 46 Bronze, total = 132
2nd East Germany (GDR) 37 Gold, 35 Silver, 30 Bronze, total = 102
3rd United States (USA) 36 Gold, 31 Silver, 27 Bronze, total = 94
1992 – Barcelona, Spain
Former Soviet Union members competed as a Unified Team and Germany competed as one nation following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Medals Table
1st Unified Team (EUN) 45 Gold, 38 Silver, 29 Bronze, total = 112
2nd United States (USA) 37 Gold, 34 Silver, 37 Bronze, total = 108
3rd Germany (GER) 33 Gold, 21 Silver, 28 Bronze, total = 82
1996 – Atlanta, USA
Television rights were sold for a record sum and Coca-Cola was a major sponsor of these games.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 44 Gold, 32 Silver, 25 Bronze, total = 101
2nd Russia (RUS) 26 Gold, 21 Silver, 16 Bronze, total = 63
3rd Germany (GER) 20 Gold, 18 Silver, 27 Bronze, total = 65
2000 – Sydney, Australia
Steve Redgrave won a fifth consecutive gold medal in rowing.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 37 Gold, 24 Silver, 32 Bronze, total = 93
2nd Russia (RUS) 32 Gold, 28 Silver, 29 Bronze, total = 89
3rd China (CHN) 28 Gold, 16 Silver, 14 Bronze, total = 58
2004 – Athens, Greece
The games returned to Athens. The cost involved in staging the Olympics, especially with regard to increased security provision following the 9/11 terror attacks led to delays and venues were completed only just in time.
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 36 Gold, 39 Silver, 26 Bronze, total = 101
2nd China (CHN) 32 Gold, 17 Silver, 14 Bronze, total = 63
3rd Russia (RUS) 28 Gold, 26 Silver, 36 Bronze, total = 90
2008 – Beijing, China
43 world records and 132 Olympic records were broken during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals in swimming the most ever at a single Olympics
Medals Table
1st China (CHN) 51 Gold, 21 Silver, 28 Bronze, total = 100
2nd United States (USA) 36 Gold, 38 Silver, 36 Bronze, total = 110
3rd Russia (RUS) 23 Gold, 21 Silver, 29 Bronze, total = 73
2012 – London, UK
The games returned to London for the third time
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 46 Gold, 28 Silver, 29 Bronze, total = 103
2nd China (CHN) 38 Gold, 29 Silver, 21, Bronze, total = 88
3rd Great Britain (GBR) 29 Gold, 17 Silver, 19 Bronze, total = 65
2016 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
First Olympics to be held in South America
Medals Table
1st United States (USA) 46 Gold, 37 Silver, 38 Bronze, total = 121
2nd Great Britain (GBR) 27 Gold, 23 Silver, 17, Bronze, total = 67
3rd China (CHN) 26 Gold, 18 Silver, 26 Bronze, total = 70
2020 – Tokyo, Japan
The Olympics return to Japan for the second time

 

Harvard Reference for this page::

Heather Y Wheeler. (2016). Summer Olympics 776 BCE to Present Day. Available: http://www.totallytimelines.com/summer-olympics-776-bce-to-present-day. Last accessed June 19th, 2018

 

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