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According to most accounts, the man solely responsible for reviving the modern Olympic Games was Baron Pierre de Coubertin. David C. Young challenges this view, revealing that Coubertin was only the last and most successful of many contributors to the dream of the modern Olympics. Based on 13 years of research in previously neglected documents, Young reconstructs the almost unknown history of the Olympic revival movement in the 19th century, including two long-forgotten Olympiads - one in London in 1866 and another in Athens in 1870. He traces the idea for the modern Olympics back to an obscure Greek poet in 1833 and follows the sinuous tale to a small village in England, where W.P. Brookes held local Olympiads, founded the British Olympic Committee, and told Coubertin about his vision of an international Olympics. Coubertin's main contribution to the founding of the modern Olympics was the zeal he brought to transforming an idea that had evolved over decades into the reality of Olympiad I and all the Olympic Games held thereafter.
David C. Young is a professor of classics at the University of Florida.