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Google Doodle celebrates 120th anniversary of modern Olympics

Athens 1896

The first modern Olympics opened on this day 120 years ago, an anniversary not lost on Google.

The website unveiled four Google Doodle images last night in honor of the Athens 1896 Games.

Those Games were the brainchild of Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a revival 15 centuries after the last ancient Olympics.

Coubertin gave his heart to the Olympic movement -- it rests inside a monument at the ancient Olympic site of Olympia.

A total of 243 athletes -- men only -- from 14 National Olympic Committees competed in Athens in 43 events over nine sports, according to the International Olympic Committee.

This summer, some 10,500 male and female athletes from more than 200 nations are expected to compete in Rio in 306 events over 28 sports.

In 1896, the first modern Olympic champion was Boston’s James Brendan Connolly in the triple jump.

Connolly’s triumph was remarkable given he arrived from a 16-day, 16,000-mile journey to Athens the day before, partied that night and woke from three hours of sleep thinking he had 11 days to rest before his competition.

He learned at breakfast the triple jump was actually that day and won despite gaining 12 pounds during his trip to Greece.

MORE: Archivists find footage of 1896 Olympic marathon winner’s victory lap

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Google Doodle

Google Doodle

Google Doodle