In the late 1800s, European fascination with the culture of ancient Greece, and a growing interest in physical education and fitness, led to the idea of resurrecting the Olympic Games of antiquity. A French nobleman named Pierre de Coubertin took up the cause, and under his leadership, the first international Olympiad took place in Athens in 1896.
Coubertin loved America, and wanted to bring his modern Games there. But finding an American city to host his sporting spectacle proved to be a competition in itself. Before the Games began, civic grudges and political backstabbing ignited a war between two rival cities, St. Louis and Chicago, over who would garner the glory of hosting the first U.S. Olympics.
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