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Today In History – April 06 – First Modern Olympics Is Held





1830: Mormon Church established: In Fayette Township, New York, Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion, organizes the Church of Christ during a meeting with a small group of believers. Born in Vermont in 1805, Smith claimed in 1823 that he had been visited by a Christian angel named Moroni who spoke to him of an ancient Hebrew text that had been lost for 1,500 years. The holy text, supposedly engraved on gold plates by a Native American historian in the fourth century, related the story of Israelite peoples who had lived in America in ancient times. During the next six years, Smith dictated an English translation of this text to his wife and other scribes, and in 1830 The Book of Mormon was published. In the same year, Smith founded the Church of Christ–later known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–in Fayette Township. More here

1841: John Tyler is inaugurated as 10th president: On this day in 1841, John Tyler is sworn in as president. Tyler was elected as William Harrison’s vice president earlier in 1841 and was suddenly thrust into the role of president when Harrison died one month into office. He was the first vice president to immediately assume the role of president after a sitting president’s untimely exit and set the precedent for succession thereafter. More here

1895: Oscar Wilde arrested: Writer Oscar Wilde is arrested after losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry. Wilde had been engaged in an affair with the marquess’s son since 1891, but when the outraged marquess denounced him as a homosexual, Wilde sued the man for libel. However, he lost his case when evidence strongly supported the marquess’s observations. Homosexuality was classified as a crime in England at the time, and Wilde was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to two years of hard labor. More here

1896: First modern Olympics is held: On April 6, 1896, the first modern Olympic Games are held in Athens, Greece, with athletes from 14 countries participating.

The International Olympic Committee met for the first time in Paris in June 1984 and chose Greece as the site of the inaugural modern Olympiad. The ancient games are believed to have originated in 776 B.C. in Olympia, Greece, where athletes competed in one event: a foot race. Over the years, other events were added, including chariot racing, boxing, wrestling and the pentathlon. Participants, who were all young men from Greek city-states and colonies, often battled it out in the buff, as a way to celebrate the human body, and winners received olive branches. The last ancient Olympics are thought to have taken place in A.D. 393.

At the first modern Olympics, 241 male athletes (and no women) representing 14 nations competed in 43 events. America’s James Connolly became the first modern Olympic champion when he won the triple jump on the opening day of the Games. For his achievement, he was awarded a silver medal and an olive branch. Connolly later finished second in the high-jump event and took third in the long jump. More here

1950: Train falls off bridge in Brazil: A train drops off a bridge in Tangua, Brazil, killing 110 people on this day in 1950. Twenty-two cars made up the Leopoldina Railways train that departed Rio de Janeiro for Victoria, Espirito Santo. The passenger cars were filled with people vacationing over the Easter holidays. The train left after midnight and had gone almost 60 miles when it approached the bridge over the Indios River at about 1:30 a.m. More here

1970: Sam Sheppard dies: On this day in 1970, Sam Sheppard, a doctor convicted of murdering his pregnant wife in a trial that caused a media frenzy in the 1950s, dies of liver failure. After a decade in prison, Sheppard was released following a re-trial. His story is rumored to have loosely inspired the television series and movie “The Fugitive.” More here

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