ADVANCED - READING

As you read the story, think about the answers to these questions.
1. Why was Connolly the first Olympic champion in 1500 years?
2. Has the eternal flame always been part of the Olympics?

The Spirit of the Olympics
"The Olympic flame was first lit at the opening ceremony of the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928."

The modern Olympics began in Athens in 1896. The Olympics is the story of the human spirit, mind and body and its ability to break barriers and reach new levels. It is a story of co-operation between countries. The world stops and watches as athletes from all over come together to compete. In 2000, 199 countries competed.

In 1896, 14 countries competed in the first modern Olympics. On 6 April, 1896, an American, James Connolly, won the triple jump and became the first Olympic champion in more than 1500 years.

The Olympic flame was first lit at the opening ceremony of the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928. During June and July this year (2004) the Olympic flame has travelled around the world, passing through 26 countries and 34 cities on its way to Athens for the opening ceremony of the 2004 games on August 13.

The world is watching with a little fear and a lot of goodwill, hoping that the 2004 games in Athens will be a magnificent, exciting and safe event.