The revival of the ancient Olympics attracted athletes from 14 nations, with the largest delegations coming from Greece, Germany and France.
The first Olympic medal to be awarded in more than 1,500 years was won on April 6 when America's James Connolly won the triple jump.
Harvard University student Connolly, who also finished second in the high jump and third in the long jump, had left the USA on a cargo ship and travelled the rest of the way by train.
All of the 43 event winners received a silver medal and a crown of olive branches but the one discipline the Greeks wanted victory in was the marathon, because of its historical significance.
Leaving the city of Marathon, Spiridon Louis took the lead four kilometres from the finish line and, to the great joy of the 100,000 spectators, won the race by more than seven minutes.
Hungarian swimmer Alfréd Hajos won the 100m and the 1,200m events and, after the longer event - when swimmers were transported by boat out to sea and left to swim back to shore alone, said of the cold water: "My will to live completely overcame my desire to win."
Britain's first champions of the modern Olympics were John Boland, who claimed victory in the men's tennis singles, and Launceston Elliot, in weightlifting.
DOB: 17/5/1956 Event: Boxing Medals: 1 gold Flag: USA
A week into the Games of the XXX Olympiad, Richard Moore brings us his half-way highs and lows
Linford Christie sprinted to 100m gold for Britain at an Olympic Games best remembered for America's basketball dream team.