The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece in 1896. There were 311 male but no female competitors.
The all-marble Panathenaic Stadium was chosen by the Greeks to host the games, but the venue had an ancient track with very sharp corners which forced the sprinters to slow down to stay in their lanes. The 1896 Olympics is also remembered for being the first games to organize a marathon race. The endurance event set off from the Greek town of Marathon and was won by Spyridon Louis, a Greek.
As Olympic champion, he was awarded a silver medal, an olive branch, and a diploma. The games lasted just over a week and attracted 280 male competitors (women were not allowed to compete until Paris 1900). Male athletes from the United States dominated the track and field, winning 9 events from 12.