The first Modern Olympics held in Athens on this day: ABS honours Greece with special map

Actress Ino Menegaki, in the role of the High Priestess, lights the torch of the first torchbearer Yiannis Antoniou, Greek alpine skier, during the Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Flame for Sochi Winter Olympics 2014. Photo: EPA/Orestis Panagiotou.

On 6 April, 1896, the modern Olympic Games were reborn, 1,500 years after they were banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I for being pagan-related.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics honoured Greeks, the creators of the Olympics with a special map featuring the top suburbs in each state/territory for Greek ancestry.

There was plenty of pandemonium as the long-lost tradition came to life. King Georgios I of Greece joined a crowd of 60,000 spectators welcoming athletes from 13 nations to Athens.

The original games first took place in Olympia in 776 BC and took place every four years as a religious festival honouring Zeus. Contestants to the ancient games came from a dozen or more Greek states and gathered in Olympia from around 100 cities within the Greek empire.

The games grew from foot races to other events and included wrestling, boxing, horse and chariot racing, and included other competitions, such as the pentathlon , which was introduced in 708 BC (foot race, long jump, discus, javelin and wrestling). Only men competed and races were held in the nude. To win was so great an honour that city walls would be pulled down for the winner to pass through.

The Olympics declined with the rise of the Roman Empire until the games were banned in 393 due to their pagan roots.

In 1892, Pierre de Coubertin, a French baron, came up with the idea of reviving the games. The discussion took place at the conference on international sport in Paris in June 1894, when 79 delegates from nine countries unanimously approved the proposal.

The first Modern Olympics took place on 6 April 1896 in Athens with 280 participants from 13 nations taking part in 43 events at the Panathenaic Stadium which was originally built in 330 BC and restored for the games.

The marathon was also revived with Spyridon Louis winning the first marathon, Greece’s first record in the event.

At the time Baron de Coubertin was the IOC president who guided the Olympic Games through their first difficult years when they lacked popular support.

The year 1924 marked the first truly successful Olympic Games with more than 3,000 athletes from 44 nations.