In 1896, when Athens staged the first modern edition of the Olympics, fewer than 300 athletes from 12 nations descended on the Greek capital to compete in wrestling, fencing, gymnastics, and the world’s first marathon. The 125 years since that historic April have allowed plenty of time for dizzying growth in the scale and complexity of the games, which have now spanned 46 different host cities on five continents. During the recently completed two-week event this summer, Tokyo welcomed 12,000 athletes from 206 nations and territories to compete in upwards of 38 different sports—a colossal undertaking delayed for one year by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, cities hosting the Olympic games
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