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Athens 2004


A record 201 nations participated in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, with more athletes, more female competitors and more events than ever before, while a global television audience of around 3.9billion watched the spectacle.

Several events paid tribute to that first Games back in 1896, with the marathon races following the same original route, starting in Marathon and ending in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. The shot put events were held at the site of the ancient Olympic Games at Olympia.

Despite continuing warfare back home, the football team from Iraq qualified for the Olympic tournament and made it to the semifinals.

China celebrated their best Olympics, finishing in second place behind America, with 63 medals.

Bidding contenders

Athens, Rome, Cape Town, Stockholm, Buenos Aires

Top Athletes

American swimmer Michael Phelps won six gold medals and set a single-Games record with eight medals in total.

Kelly Holmes was the heroine for Great Britain with an unprecedented golden double in the 800m and 1 500m.

Leontine van Moorsel of the Netherlands became the first female cyclist to earn four career gold medals, reaching a total of six Olympic medals.

German canoeist Birgit Fischer became the first athlete in any sport to win two medals in each of five Olympic Games.

Memorable Moments

South Africa's men's 4x100m freestyle relay team of Roland Schoeman, Ryk Neethling, Lyndon Ferns and Darian Townsend claimed gold in spectacular fashion, setting a world record of 3:13.17 as they beat the much fancied Australian and American teams.

Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, arguably the greatest middle-distance runner of all time, won gold in the 1 500m and 5 000m, becoming the first person to accomplish this feat at the Olympics since Paavo Nurmi in 1924.


Matthew Pinsent succeeded in his bid for a fourth consecutive gold medal in the coxless fours in what was one of the most thrilling finishes to any race in this Games.

Britain's 4x100m relay quartet of Darren Campbell, Jason Gardner, Mark Lewis-Francis and Marlon Devonish put their individual disappointments behind them to produce the performance of their lives to shock the highly-fancied Americans and snatch an unexpected dramatic gold.

Liu Xiang won gold in the 110m hurdles, equalling Colin Jackson's 1993 world record of 12.91 seconds. This was China's first ever gold in men's track and field.

Position Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States of America 36 39 27 102
2 China 32 17 14 63
3 Russian Federation 27 27 38 92
4 Australia 17 16 16 49
5 Japan 16 9/td> 12 37
6 Germany 13 16 20 49
7 France 11 9 13 33
8 Italy 10 11/td> 11 32
9 Korea 9 12 9 30
10 Great Britain 9 9 12 30
Position Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
28 Ethiopia 2 3 2 7
36 Morocco 2 1 0 3
41 Kenya 1 4 2 7
43 South Africa 1 3 2 6
46 Egypt 1 1 3 5
49 Zimbabwe 1 1 1 3
54 Cameroon 1 0 0 1
69 Nigeria 0 0 2 2

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