120yds Medal - New York Athletic Club 1895 (obverse and reverse) (IAAF) © Copyright

The Athens 1896 Olympic Games, getting ready for the 20th century – IAAF Heritage

As might be expected from any exhibition devoted to the origins of our sport, memorabilia relating to the Athens 1896 Olympic Games take pride of place.

Athletics From Ancient Times To The End Of The 19th Century (part 2)

The first Olympic Games of the modern era, and the only Olympics of the 19th century, is a milestone in sport and especially athletics. Not surprising, exhibits relating to this auspicious and historic event have an important place in the first part of the IAAF Heritage World / Continental Cup - 1977 To 2018 – Exhibition which takes place in Ostrava’s Forum Nova Karolina Shopping Centre (5 June to 9 September 2018).

The Francophone influence over the early Olympic movement was considerable and this is reflected in the origin of many of the periodicals of this time, as evidenced by those on display, although there was also considerable interest in the contemporary English-language media.

Nowadays, there is a close relationship between athletics, the Olympics and the Paralympic movement but in the 19th century competitive athletics for Paralympians was a novelty. However, this Exhibition includes a fascinating illustration, among the first, showing what we would nowadays term a Paralympic athletics event.

The final exhibit in this section of the exhibition comes from an athletics meeting in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo, demonstrating that athletics was starting to become popular across the world.

The exhibits that cover the last few decades of the 19th century show just how organised athletics and the institutions that promoted our sport began to have a prominence in the evolving modern world across all sections of society and had developed beyond its elite origins of the middle of the 19th century.

The IAAF Heritage World / Continental Cup - 1977 To 2018 - Exhibition is kindly supported by the International Athletics Foundation, ASICS, Seiko, TDK and Mondo and is delivered by IAAF Heritage along with the Czech Athletics Federation and the LOC of the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018. We thank the Forum Nova Karolina Shopping Centre for their generous assistance in hosting the exhibition.