The Olympic Games: the very first time

Reading time: 3 minutes
Photo by Anthony -

Your first time... Remember?

We've all experienced one or more first times! Our first kiss, our first love, our first book or film... And every first time has a unique taste, leaving an indelible memory.

History is also made up of these moments: the first man on the Moon, the first man flying in the sky, the first woman president or voting in elections, the first time fire or nuclear power was mastered...

The Olympic Games also have their first time, full of emotion and excitement...

Come on board with me to discover these firsts that are sure to amaze you...

Medals, medallists on a podium...


1. Gold, silver and bronze medals... A classic, right? And yet we had to wait until 1904 to see them appear. At the time, the Olympic Games were being held in St. Louis, Missouri.


2. And it was only in 1932, in Los Angeles, that medals were awarded for the first time... on a podium! Crazy, isn't it?


3. The first medal-winning athlete? James Connolly, an American, won gold in the triple jump on April 6, 1896. 

4. Do you know the famous Olympic rings? They represent the union of the five continents. But then again, they've only been around since 1913, and didn't officially appear on a flag until 1920, in Antwerp. History is written in time...

Source :

London, capital of the Olympic Games?


5. Do you like to see athletes marching behind their pretty flags? So do I! It was in 1908, in London, that they paraded behind their flags at the opening ceremony for the first time.


6. However... It wasn't until 1932, at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics, thata woman became flag-bearer for an Olympic delegation.

Remember her name: Mollie Phillips, figure skater for Great Britain. Admittedly, parity wasn't exactly a priority at the time...


7. The marathon distance is 42.195 km...

Do you know why? You'll see, it's royal! In 1908, in London, the marathon started at Windsor Castle and finished at the entrance to White City Stadium. In all, 26 miles, or 40 km at most, just like in 1896!

However, the royal family has requested that the marathon start on the lawn of Windsor Castle, so that the children can watch it from their crib...

The total length of the race was then increased to 26.2 miles: 42.195 km! In 1921, the Olympic Committee validated this distance, making it official and definitive. Thanks to whom? Thanks to the crown!

Bread and games, but also arts, letters and TV!


8. Are the Olympics just about sport? Not at all! From 1912 to 1948, medals wereawarded for works of art related to sport: in architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture... Incredible, but true!

9. Do you know the official motto of the Olympic Games? Here it is: Citius, Altius, Fortius - Communiter: Citius, Altius, Fortius - Communiter.

‍Translation: "Faster, higher, stronger - together".

This motto, proposed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was originally (1894) shorter. It wasn't until 2024 that the word Communiter (together) was added... A second first for this motto? You be the judge!

Copyright: © 1936 / International Olympic Committee (IOC) / Rübelt Lothar 

10. In 1936 in Berlin, the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was watched by 150,000 people... The Olympics were finally on TV!

Germany was ruled by Hitler, who used games as a propaganda tool. This gave rise to Leni Riefenstahl's famous film Gods of the Stadium . History would do the rest! (The Olympic torch relay also appeared for the first time at these games).



10 first times... And so many others I haven't told you about!

The Olympic Games aren't just games, they're a whole symbol... Economic, political stakes that make history with a capital H. And that's all we hope for the future Olympic Games in Paris 2024.

So thank you for following this JO theme, I hope you enjoy it and I'll see you soon for more discoveries.



By Edmond Kean

Did you like our article?

Share the
Linkedin logo





HR and QWL events to improve well-being at work




Get your CSR certification: a guide to labels and best practices




Absenteeism at work: Cost analysis and strategies