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The five Olympic rings were designed in 1913, adopted in 1914 and debuted at the Games at Antwerp, 1920“I hereby proclaim the opening of the first International Olympic Games at Athens.” With these words on April 6, 1896, King George I of Greece welcomed the crowd that had gathered in the newly reconstructed Panathenean Stadium to the modern-day Olympic Summer Games.The event was the idea of Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France who traveled the world to gather support for his dream to have nations come together and overcome national disputes, all in the name of sport.

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Baron Pierre de CoubertinIf not for the generous private donations of Greek businessmen like George Averoff, these first Olympics might have been moved to Budapest, Hungary. Averoff generously offered to pay for the reconstruction of Athens’ Panathenean Stadium which had been built in 330 B.C.E. This left the Greek government with enough money to build a venue for the shooting competition and a pier for the swimming events.The program for the Games included track and field, fencing, weightlifting, rifle and pistol shooting, tennis, cycling, swimming, gymnastics, and wrestling. Although 14 nations participated, most of the athletes were Greek.The Games reached their high point on Day 11 with the first modern-day marathon. The idea to hold an event to commemorate the Ancient Olympic games was suggested by a friend of de Coubertin and was met with great anticipation. The race was run from Marathon to Athens (estimated at 22–26 miles), watched by more than 100,000 people and won by a Greek runner, Spiridon Louis.

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  Spiridon LouisFrom the moment Louis entered the stadium for the final leg of the race the home crowd roared with pride. The thrill and excitement reverberated through to the Games’ finale-the ceremonial march of nations.De Coubertin was pleased with the first games and stressed to organizers the importance of moving the Games all around the world. This was disappointing to Athens, which wanted to be a permanent host, but set into motion the international festival we know today as the Olympic Summer Games.

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Nationality German
 
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 1991–2006
Teams Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari
Races 250 (248 starts)
Championships 7 (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
Wins 91
Podium finishes 154
Career points 1,369
Pole positions 68
Fastest laps 76
First race 1991 Belgian Grand Prix
First win 1992 Belgian Grand Prix
Last win 2006 Chinese Grand Prix
Last race 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher born January 3, 1969, in Hürth Hermülheim, Germany) is a former Formula One driver, and seven-time world champion.According to the official Formula One website, he is “statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen”. He is the first German to win the Formula One World championship and is credited with popularising Formula One in Germany.In a 2006 FIA survey, Michael Schumacher was voted the most popular driver among Formula One fans.After winning two championships with Benetton, Schumacher moved to Ferrari in 1996 and won five consecutive drivers’ titles with them from 2000-2004. Schumacher holds many records in Formula One, including most drivers’ championships, race victories, fastest laps, pole positions, points scored and most races won in a single season.Schumacher is the first and only Formula One driver to have an entire season of podium finishes (2002). His driving sometimes created controversy: he was twice involved in collisions that determined the outcome of the world championship, most notably his disqualification from the 1997 championship for causing a collision with Jacques Villeneuve. After the 2006 Formula One season Schumacher retired from race driving. He was an assistant to Scuderia Ferrari CEO Jean Todt for the 2007 Formula One season.Off the track, Schumacher is an ambassador for UNESCO and a spokesman for driver safety. He has been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts throughout his life. He is the elder brother of Formula One driver Ralf Schumacher.Formula One recordsAs of the end of the 2007 Formula One season, Michael Schumacher holds the following F1 records:

Record Number
1 Championship titles 7 (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
2 Consecutive titles 5 (2000–2004)
3 Race victories 91
4 Consecutive wins 7 (2004, Europe–Hungary)
5 Wins with one team 72 (Ferrari)
6 Wins at same GP 8 (France)
7 Wins at different GPs 22
8 Longest Time between first and last wins 14 years, 1 month and 2 days
9 Second places 43
10 Podiums (Top 3) 154
11 Consecutive podium finishes 19 (US 2001–Japan 2002)
12 Points finishes 190
13 Laps leading 4741 (22,155 km)[118]
14 Pole positions 68
15 Front row starts 115
16 Fastest laps 76
17 Doubles (Pole and win) 40
18 Perfect Score (Pole, fastest lap and win) 22
19 Championship points 1,369
20 Consecutive race finishes 24 (Hungary 2001–Malaysia 2003)
21 Points in a season for vice-champion 121 (From 180) (2006)
22 Wins in a season for vice-champion 7 (2006)
23 Wins at Indy (Any racing class) 5
24 Wins at Monza (Formula One) 5
25 Wins in a season 13 (2004)
26 Fastest laps in a season 10 (2004)
27 Points scored in a season 148 (2004)
28 Podium finishes in a season 17 (100%) (2002)
29 Championship won with most races left 6 (2002)
30 Consecutive years with a win 15 (1992–2006)
31 Consecutive days as champion 1813 (from 8 October 2000 until 25 September 2005)

^ Record shared with Alberto Ascari (1952 Belgian GP–1953 Argentine GP). Some sources credit Ascari with nine consecutive wins, disregarding the 1953 Indianapolis 500 race, in which Ascari did not compete. The American race formed part of the world championship, but was not run to the same regulations as the other races and was very rarely attended by world championship drivers.^ Record shared with Kimi Räikkönen (2005) and Alain Prost (1984 and 1988)^ Record shared with Kimi Räikkönen (2005)

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Michael Gerard Tyson

Michael Gerard Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is a retired American boxer. He won two world heavyweight boxing championships during his career and remains the youngest man ever to win a world heavyweight title.Nicknamed “Iron Mike Tyson”, “Kid Dynamite” and “The Baddest Man on the Planet” Tyson adopted the Muslim name Malik Abdul Aziz, after his conversion to the Nation of Islam (a similar step was taken by his hero Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., when he became Muhammad Ali 20 years before it) while in prison for his rape conviction. For his behavior both in and out of the ring, ESPN has ranked Tyson as the #1 Most Outrageous Character in modern sports history as determined by a panel of experts and an Internet poll.

He was trained by Cus D’Amato in the early part of his career, Tyson unified the belts in the splintered heavyweight division in the late 1980s and won many of his fights by knockout. He knocked out his first 19 professional opponents no later than the sixth round, and 13 of them in the first.[citation needed] He was the undisputed heavyweight champion for over two years before losing to Buster Douglas in 1990.In 1992 he was convicted of raping a beauty pageant contestant, and after being released from prison in 1995, he engaged in a series of comeback fights. In 1997, he bit off a portion of Evander Holyfield’s ear. He fought for a championship again at 35, losing by knockout to Lennox Lewis in 2002. Tyson retired from competitive boxing in 2005.Since retiring he has engaged in a series of exhibition bouts in a tour across the U.S to pay his numerous debts. He declared bankruptcy in 2003, despite receiving over US$30 million for several of his fights and $300 million over his career.

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Nikos Galis

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Position Shooting guard
Nickname Nik The Greek
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Nationality Greek / USA
Born July 23, 1957 (1957-07-23) (age 50)New Jersey, U.S.
Draft 68th overall, 1979Boston Celtics
Pro career 1979–1995
Former teams Aris (1979–1992)Panathinaikos (1992–1994)
Awards FIBA Europe European Player of the Year 1987Eurobasket 1987 MVP4 Time Greek A1 League MVP: (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991)5 Time Greek A1 Playoff MVP: (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991)6 Time Greek Basketball Cup MVP: (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993)

 Nikos Galis (born July 23, 1957 in New Jersey) is a retired Greek basketball player, a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame and regarded as one of Europe’s all-time greats in the sport. With his unbelievable performances in court and his rare professionalism, Galis grew into a living legend in Greece and is considered by many Greeks the greatest athlete the country has ever known.The child of a poor immigrant family from Rhodes, Greece, Nick took up boxing in his early years, his father George Georgalis having been a very good boxer in his youth. He was persuaded to give up boxing by his mother, who was shaking with fright every afternoon that her son would return with a new facial injury. So he started being interested in basketball and enrolled in Union Hill High School in Union City, New Jersey. Later on he was admitted to Seton Hall University as a college basketball player. In his fourth and final year, Galis, by now a shooting guard, saw his points average reach 27.5 and his name ranked third among the leading NCAA Division I scorers, behind Larry Bird and Lawrence Butler. Galis’ agent, Bill Manon, who also managed Diana Ross, did not have Galis work out with any NBA teams. Galis was eventually selected by the Boston Celtics in the 4th round of the 1979 NBA Draft, 68th overall. Due to a severe injury that he suffered during the Celtics pre-season training camp, the franchise was no longer interested in offering him a contract because Gerald Henderson had taken his place and his injury would keep him out for the foreseeable future. It was then that Galis decided to pursue a professional career in Greece’s A1 League.Galis made the move across the Atlantic and signed for Aris of Thessaloniki, Greece (Panathinaikos and Olympiakos had showed some interest in the newcomer, but it was Aris’ interest that was the most vivid). His return to the country helped Greek basketball reach heights never imagined before, leading the Greek National Basketball team to the Eurobasket 1987 1st place in with 37.0 PPG (MVP, 40 points in the final game against the Soviet Union National Basketball team, 103-101) and 2nd place in the Eurobasket 1989 , averaging 35.6 points. Galis participated in the 1986 FIBA World Championship, where he again led all players in scoring with 33 PPG, and had a 53-point outburst against the Panama National Team. Aside from the 1987 final against the Soviet Union, Galis is also remembered for a stunning effort against the same team in the Eurobasket 1989 semi-finals, when he scored 45 out of his team’s 81 points in a dramatic, last-gasp 81-80 victory.Averaging more than 30 points per game every season, Galis was the indisputable leader of Aris BC. Playing alongside other great players at Aris such as Panagiotis Giannakis and Slobodan Subotić, Galis won 8 Greek Championships (7 of them consecutively and 3 undefeated, in the years 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991), 6 Greek Basketball Cups (4 of them consecutively, in the years 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992), and led Aris to 3 consecutive appearances at the European Champions Final 4 (1988-1990). In the one disappointment of a glittering career, all three appearances ended in defeat in the semi-finals, thus depriving him of the opportunity to shine on Europe’s biggest club stage. The team’s performances and general standard of play however won the heart of every basketball fan in Greece, as well as creating thousands more Aris supporters. Indeed, cinemas and theaters would often reduce their admission prices on Thursday evenings when Aris was playing and the entire country settled down to watch them on television.After a disappointing season in 1992, Galis was forced to leave Aris. The new president of Aris and the fact that the team was then in decay were the main causes for his departure. Galis, who adored Thessaloniki, insisted about remaining in the club and playing for the team, as he believed that he still could offer much. Giorgos Rampotas, his personal trainer and friend, writes in “Galis’ Biography” that Thessaloniki was what mattered most to Galis. Consequently, after he was forced to leave he even contemplated playing for Aris’ greatest opponent PAOK, without ever doing so though.Galis ended up moving to Athens and specifically Panathinaikos where he only managed to win one Greek Basketball Cup, in 1993 his 7th Greek Cup. The following year, he returned to the European Final Four with Panathinaikos but, as in his previous three attempts with Aris, lost in the semi-finals and had to be content with being the top scorer in the 3rd-place match against FC Barcelona. His career ended controversially in 1994 when Kostas Politis (then coach of Panathinaikos) chose not to include him in the starting line-up of a Greek Championship game against Ambelokipi. Galis left the court, never again to return to action.Notable achievements

  • In 854 official career games played, Galis scored a total of 25,995 points, an impressive 30.4 points per game.
  • In 168 FIBA games with the Greek National Basketball team, he averaged 30.5 points per game.
  • Galis was the leading scorer in every major European and world international competition that he participated in from 1983 onwards. 1986 FIBA World Championship – Eurobaskets 1983, Eurobasket 1987, Eurobasket 1989, Eurobasket 1991).
  • His personal scoring record in one game is 62 points (in 1981, Aris BC vs. Ionikos). However, in the same game, his future teammate Panagiotis Giannakis scored 73 points!
  • His career high in a European competition was 57 points against Venice during the 1981 Korac Cup.

 Team Titles and Personal Awards

Galis won numerous titles and awards during his career. The following are some of them:

  • 8 Greek Championships: 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
  • 7 Greek Basketball Cups: 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993
  • 4 Time Greek A1 League MVP: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
  • 5 Time Greek A1 Playoff MVP: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
  • 6 Time Greek Basketball Cup MVP: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993
  • Eurobasket 1987 Gold Medal
  • Eurobasket 1989 Silver Medal
  • Eurobasket 1987 MVP
  • FIBA Europe European Player of the Year 1987

Since his retirement (September 29, 1995) he is the owner of a summer basketball camp in Halkidiki, Greece, a business listed at the Athens Stock Exchange. As a token of appreciation for his contribution to Greek sport, Galis was chosen to be the first torchbearer in the final round of the Olympic Flame for the Athens 2004 Olympics: he entered the stadium at the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony and set off the procession of the Flame to the altar. Since September 2007 Nikos Galis is a member of the first class of the FIBA Hall of Fame, including the best basketball players in the history of the game.

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Diego Armando Maradona (born October 30, 1960) is an Argentine former association football player. He played in four World Cups and received the people’s choice FIFA Player of the Century award, after being voted in 2000 in an international public poll on the organisation’s website to decide the best player of the 20th century.Maradona won many trophies with Boca Juniors, FC Barcelona and SSC Napoli over the course of his career. During an international career that included 91 caps and 34 goals, he played in four FIFA World Cup tournaments, leading the Argentina national team to its victory over West Germany in 1986 World Cup, in which he collected the Golden Ball award as the tournament’s best player. His second goal against England in the quarter-finals of the ’86 tournament — a spectacular 60-metre weave through six England players — is commonly referred to as “The Goal of the Century” or, in Argentina, “The Cosmic Kite” (Spanish: El barrilete cósmico).He is also considered one of the sport’s most controversial figures. Maradona was suspended for 15 months in 1991 after a failed doping test for cocaine in Italy, and then again for ephedrine during the 1994 World Cup in USA.After retiring from playing on his 37th birthday in 1997, he suffered ill health and weight gain, hardly helped by ongoing cocaine abuse. However, a stomach stapling operation helped control his weight gain. Since overcoming his cocaine addiction, he has become a TV host in Argentina.Maradona had a compact physique and could withstand physical pressure well. His strong legs and low center of gravity gave him an advantage in short sprints. His physical strengths were illustrated by his two goals against Belgium in the 1986 World Cup. Maradona was a strategist and a team player, as well as highly technical with the ball. He could manage himself effectively in limited spaces, and would attract defenders only to quickly dash out of the melee (as in the second 1986 goal against England), or give an assist to a free teammate. Being short, but strong, he could hold the ball long enough with a defender on his back to wait for a teammate making a run or to find a gap for a quick shot.One of Maradona’s trademark moves was dribbling full-speed as a left wing, and on reaching the opponent’s goal line, delivering lethally accurate passes to his teammates. Another trademark was the Rabona, a reverse-cross pass shot behind the leg that holds all the weight. This maneuver led to several assists, such as the powerful cross for Ramón Díaz’s header in the 1980 friendly against Switzerland. He was also a dangerous free kick taker.

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Ayrton Senna

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Ayrton Senna da Silva(March 21, 1960 – May 1, 1994) was a Brazilian racing driver and triple Formula One world champion. He remains the last Grand Prix driver killed while driving a Formula One car.A kart racer from an early age, he won the British Formula 3 championship in 1983 and made his Formula One debut with Toleman the next year. He moved to Team Lotus in 1985 and won six races there over the course of three seasons. He joined Frenchman Alain Prost at McLaren-Honda in 1988 and won the Formula One World Championship. He developed a heated rivalry with Prost, one of the most bitter in F1 history. Senna won the championship twice more, in 1990 and 1991, the former decided in a controversial manner by a collision in one of the final races with Prost who was then a Ferrari driver. In the next two years with McLaren, despite driving an inferior car, Senna won eight races and finished runner-up for the world title in 1993. He switched to the then-dominant Williams Renault team for the 1994 Formula One season, taking three poles but never finishing a race; millions of fans witnessed his death live in global TV coverage during that year’s San Marino GP at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.His near victory during the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix despite an inferior car, his dominant first victory in the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix and his acclaimed 1993 European Grand Prix victory, all of them in extremely rain-affected conditions, showed his talent in wet weather driving. He was the fastest driver of his era over one lap, as shown by his 65 pole positions in 162 races. His record six victories in the Monaco Grand Prix, and his 1988 Japanese Grand Prix win that earned him his first Drivers’ title are several examples of his finest performances. His racing skills and personality earned him a place in motorsport history, and comparisons to Grand Prix legend Juan Manuel Fangio.Known for his ruthless will to win, some believe he occasionally crossed the fairness line, most infamously during the penultimate 1990 Japanese Grand Prix. Senna was narrowly leading in the drivers’ standings, and deliberately crashed his McLaren into Alain Prost’s Ferrari.Both were eliminated from the race, which prevented Prost from earning the points needed to sustain the title fight, allowing Senna to clinch the championship. In contrast, Prost’s more subtle use of a deliberate crash to defeat Senna the preceding year was largely ignored. Williams teammate Damon Hill has suggested that Senna “would often prefer to crash into his opponent rather than be defeated”.Senna’s aggression had inspired Michael Schumacher, an F1 great who idolized Senna and had who also had a similar streak of controversy through his career.Competitive and unwilling to settle for second, his style consisted of pushing the car to its limits and going flat out, a stark contrast to the relaxed intellectual style of his nemesis Prost.Having won drivers’ titles with McLaren in 1988 and 1990-91, their unreliable car which led to dismal 1992 season had Senna almost exiting the team. Without a vacant seat in another frontrunning team, as signing with the reigning champion Williams was blocked by arch-rival Prost, Senna almost considered leaving F1 for CART, before McLaren convinced the Brazilian to stay for 1993. Having been passed by Michael Schumacher whilst in the pits during the 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix, Senna pushed too hard attempting to regain the lead and stalled, causing him to retire. A poor start to the 1994 season led Senna to placing utmost importance on a victory in San Marino in order to sustain the title fight, which was perhaps a factor in his fatal accident there.Also notable was the unique duality of his character. Senna’s intense and unyielding will to win on the track, was in stark contrast to his humane and compassionate exploits off it. A deeply religious man, he reportedly donated the bulk of his fortune to create the “Ayrton Senna Foundation”, with the aim of helping poor and needy young people in Brazil and around the world. Eventually becoming concerned with the potential dangers of his sport, he helped to push for the organization of a driver safety group shortly before his final race.

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Michael Jordan

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Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), proclaimed by the National Basketball Association (NBA) as the “greatest player of all time”, was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation, and was instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.After a stand-out career at the University of North Carolina, Jordan joined the NBA’s Chicago Bulls in 1984. He quickly emerged as one of the stars of the league, entertaining crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, illustrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line at Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames “Air Jordan” and “His Airness”. He also gained a reputation as one of the best defensive players in basketball.In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a “three-peat”. Though Jordan abruptly left the NBA in October 1993 to pursue a career in baseball, he rejoined the Bulls in 1995 and led them to three additional championships (1996, 1997, and 1998) as well as an NBA-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 season. Jordan retired for a second time in 1999, but he returned for two more NBA seasons in 2001 as a member of the Washington Wizards.Jordan’s individual accolades and accomplishments include five NBA MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances and three All-Star MVPs, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.He holds the NBA record for highest career regular season scoring average with 30.1 points per game, as well as averaging a record 33.4 points per game in the playoffs. In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press’s list of athletes of the century.Jordan is also noted for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1985 and remain popular today. Jordan also starred in the 1996 feature film Space Jam. He is currently a part-owner and Managing Member of Basketball Operations of the Charlotte Bobcats in his home state of North Carolina.

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