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Subject: Athens 1896: Replaying the First Olympiad rss

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Mike D
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This Olympic session is based on the statistics provided by TCS Games Early Olympics add-on pack for their Central Lanes Athletics and Higher, Faster, Longer games. CLA provides rules for track events up to 400 meters, where HFL includes rules for track, from 800 meters, and field events. Both rule-sets provide mechanics for short and simple statistical replays that will generate the basic results necessary to recreate a solitaire spectator simulation of the competition. The enjoyment here is just in watching the whole thing take shape, rather than any kind of challenging game-play.

The first Olympiad in Athens included a a number of different sporting events, but full data is still unavailable so this replay is limited to the athletic events only. And sadly I'll have to omit the popular marathon event as there are no rules or statistics available for road events.

The complete 1896 Olympiad drew 64 participants from 10 nations. I'm only covering the eleven track and field events in this simulation and TCS provides statistics for only 48 individuals from 9 nations. The 10th nation, Chile, was represented by a single athlete, Luis Subercaseaux, who was only 15 at the time. Although he was entered for three track events, we have no data recorded and it is in dispute whether or not he actually ran.

The 1896 Olympiad is also notable for the fact that it excluded women completely. Things started to change slowly from 1900, but women's participation in track & field events would not yet be seen until 1928.

I also understand that only silver and copper medals were handed out for first and second places, as well as a laurel branch and a diploma. In my simulation I will apply the modern Gold, Silver and Bronze medal awards for all events, and we'll leave the laurels on the trees.

1896 Athens Summer Olympics - Schedule of Events

6 April
100 meters (Heats)
Triple Jump
800 meters (Heats)
Discus Throw
400 meters (Heats)

7 April
110 meter Hurdles (Heats)
Long Jump
400 meters (Final)
Shot Put
1500 meters

9 April
800 meters (Final)

10 April
100 meters (Final)
High Jump
110 meter Hurdles (Final)
Pole Vault


6th April

Opening Ceremony
Crown Prince Constatine of Greece gives his opening speech:

"I declare the opening of the first international Olympic Games in Athens. Long live the Nation. Long live the Greek people."

Bands and choirs follow but the Olympic flame won't be a part of the opening ceremony until 1928. And so, on with the games....!!


100 Metres (Heats)
The 100 metres was first event to be held at the Olympiad, with the heats taking place on 6 April. Fifteen athletes from eight nations ran in three heats, with the top two from each heat qualifying for the final. In the TCS add-on pack I only have statistics for eight runners from five nations. Since I can identify the other seven runners and I'd like to replay the historical heats, I'll just add them as class E athletes.

Records to Beat
In 1896 the world record for this event was 10.8 seconds held by British runner Harry Beaton (not competing). For this Olympic event Thomas Burke (USA) outclasses the other runners by a wide margin, but there's still no chance of any runners breaking records for this competition.


Francis Lane (USA) is off-form today but manages to make good after a poor start. He goes down in history as the first runner to win a modern Olympic race.



A strong performance from Thomas Curtis (USA) closely followed to the ribbon by Alexandros Chalkokondylis (GRE)



Heat 3 sees some confusion among the Olympic jurors when Thomas Burke uses the "crouch start", with his knee on the soil. Eventually he is allowed to start from this "uncomfortable position" and dominates the pack all the way to the finish.


Historical Comparison
As in the actual events, the US athletes all finish first although it wasn't such a clear lead this time. In fact, we have ended up with the same six finalists as qualified in the actual heats. We'll have to wait for the final to see how it turns out.



Triple Jump
The Triple Jump follows next and, with seven athletes from five nations competing, this event will be completed in only one round.

Note: After some internal debate I decided to apply some house rules on this event. The game rules use the same modifier chart for both the Long Jump and Triple Jump and this just doesn't feel like the right range for the Triple Jump. My house rule was simply to double all results printed on the chart when simulating the Triple Jump. As a side note, I think I'll have similar issue with the Shot Put modifiers but I'll get to that event later.

Records to Beat
There was no world record recognized for the Triple Jump until 1911. Since that record was 15.52m, set by Dan Ahearn of USA, and I'm unlikely to be close to that, the winning finalist here will simply give us a benchmark for future games.


A very nice effort from James Connolly (USA) on his third try and he goes down in history as the first modern Olympic champion. For a few minutes following his last jump there is concern that he has injured himself but he waves to the crowd and seems to be okay.


Historical Comparison
All the medals in my replay went to the same athletes as the historical games. Connolly cleared 13 meters and deservedly received a gold (noted I applied some house rules) but risked injury to do so, which would have removed him from the competition. If injured, I would have removed him from the Long Jump and High Jump events which would have been interesting.



800 Meters (Heats)
The 800 meters heats are up next and we have nine athletes from six nations competing. The preliminary round is split into two heats where the top two runners in each heat will earn a place in the final.

Records to Beat
Nothing was recognized for the 800 meters until 1912, with Ted Meredith (USA) setting 1:51.9, recorded during the course of a longer race. With the tight bends at Panathinaiko Stadium, setting record times in Athens wasn't really a possibility.


A slow race but Friedrich Traun (GER) doesn't manage complete. George Marshall (GBR) runs well but can't quite manage to keep up with the leaders on the last straight. Edwin Flack (AUS) loses his lead early to Nandor Dani (HUN) and never manages to regain it.



Angelos Fetsis (GRE) fails to complete and Albin Lermusiaux (FRA) and Dimitrios Tomprof (GRE) can't keep up with the leaders. Georges de la Neziere (FRA) leads Dimitrios Golemis (GRE) all the way to the finish.


Historical Comparison
A reversal of fortune in heat one where Australia's runner, Edwin Flack, took the actual win. In heat two we lost historical winner, Albin Lermusiaux, early. Golemis remains in second place with de la Neziere taking first.
Although Lermusiaux made it into the historical final he decided not to race in order to save himself for the marathon instead. We'll have to wait and see how well de la Neziere performs in his place for this Olympic games.



Discus
The Discus throw follows next with nine athletes from six nations competing. In the 1896 Discus event, each athlete made three throws with the top three finalists competing with a further two throws.

Of note is that fact that many of the non-Greek athletes had never thrown a discus before this competition and, for some, the real thing turned out to be much lighter than the substitutes they had used in practice.

Records to Beat
The first throw on world record comes in 1900 from Harrison Heath (GBR) who managed 46m. For these 1896 Olympics the competitors will be extremely lucky if they can make 30m.


Alphonse Grisel (FRA) manages to injure himself on his second attempt. This is an unfortunate result for him as he will have to drop out of the games and will therefore miss the 400 meters and Long Jump events.
Robert Garrett (USA), Panagiotis Paraskevopolous (GRE) and Sotirios Versis (GRE) all throw the same qualifying distance on their third attempt. Only Garrett manages to improve on this with his 4th throw, to take the gold.


Historical Comparison
Robert Garrett wins it again, beating the same two Greek finalists. Since the Greeks both threw the same distance I've awarded the silver medal to Versis for having second best throw, where historically he took the bronze.



400 Meters (Heats)
The final event held on 6th April is the 400 meters heats. Seven athletes from four nations signed up but we have already seen Alphonse Grisel (FRA) drop out from a Discus injury. The original heats will still stand, with two groups of three runners competing for four places in the final.

Records to Beat
The 400 meters record wasn't ratified until 1912 for Charles Reidpath (USA) at 48.2 seconds. At the same time the committee also recognized the superior performance of 47.8 seconds by Maxie Long (USA) on a 440 yards (402.34 meters) race. The tight track at the 1896 Olympic stadium won't put these future records in any danger.


A reasonable start from Kurt Dorry (GER) but he quickly falls into third place and stays there. Herbert Jamison (USA) leads the race to the finish with Fritz Hofmann (GER) taking a comfortable second.



Thomas Burke (USA), who dominated in the 100 meters earlier, proves to have tired himself by the end of the day. He drops from second to third then back to second, puts on a final burst to momentarily gain the lead but eventually finishes second. An unexpectedly good performance from a weak runner, Frantz Reichel (FRA), gives us an exciting surprise win to end the day.


Historical Comparison
Jamison and Hofmann complete heat 1 with historical results. More notable though, is the poor performance from Thomas Burke in heat 2 who was very lucky to take the second. Gmelin also underperformed and paid for it by losing his historical place in the final. Reichel performed excellently, managing to beat his historical time by just over 8 seconds! I'm looking forward to see if he can maintain his form well enough to win a medal in the final tomorrow.



6 April Round-Up
An exciting day that sees the USA pick up Golds in both the Triple Jump and Discus events. France wins a Silver in the Triple Jump, while the host nation, Greece, takes a Silver and Bronze for the Discus and a Bronze in the Triple Jump.

Alphonse Grisel (FRA) has had to drop out of the competition from an injury sustained in the Discus throw. He wasn't able to run the 400 meters today and will not be taking his place in the Long Jump tomorrow.

This session report to be continued ....

Edit: Fixed an issue with a tiebreak ruling in the Discus awards. Where I originally awarded two silvers, Versis now takes Silver for having the second best result and Paraskevopolous takes Bronze.
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Federico
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No idea about 1896, but now if two athletes have the same measure (both throws and jumps) the second best measure is used as a tiebreaker.

So in Discus Versiris would get silver (thanks to his 28.39m).
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Mike D
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Thanks for the ruling judge Federico. You're absolutely correct and I'll have to keep my IAAF guide handy in future to make sure I do the proper rulings.
Yeah, and for 1896 who knows. It seems they gave out silver for first place and copper for second and I think there were at least three ties for multiple copper medal awards. Rules change so I figure it is easier just to apply current awards.

These games are still in progress and posts will continue over the weekend...
 
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7th April


110 Meter Hurdles (Heats)
Heats for the 110m Hurdles were the first event on April 7th. Eight athletes from six nations competed in two heats of four. The top two from each heat will earn a place in the final.

Records to Beat
The first world record for 110 Meter Hurdles wasn't set until 1908 by Forrest Smithson (USA) for 15.0 seconds.


It's all between Frantz Reichel (FRA) and Grantley Goulding (UK) with Reichel leading by inches all the way to the ribbon.



A strong race between Thomas Curtis (USA) and Kurt Dorry (GER). Curtis puts on a burst at the last second to win the race. William Hoyt (USA) is off form this morning and makes a poor run in last place.


Historical Comparison
Goulding and Reichel trade places in heat 1 while Hoyt's poor performance in heat 2 leave his place in the final open to Dorry instead.


Long Jump
Next up is the Long Jump with nine athletes competing from five nations. I think standard practice to have a qualifying round if there are more than eight contestants, but I have no records of whether this was done in 1896, so I decided to resolve the event in one single round.

Records to Beat
The first world record for the Long Jump wasn't recorded until 1901, set by Peter O'Connor (IRL) at 7.61m.


Alphonse Grisel (FRA) isn't able to compete due to a Discus injury and Triple Jump finalist, James Connolly (USA), falls out in this event with a twisted ankle on his last try. Robert Garrett (USA) becomes the first athlete to win two medals when he picks up his second Gold.


Historical Comparison
Not a great performance compared to the historical results. Ellery Clarke and Robert Garrett reverse places for Gold and Silver and Connolly loses the Bronze to Chalkokondylis, and with an injury to boot!


400 Meters (Final)
Following the Long Jump we come to the finals of the 400 meters. Herbert Jamison (USA) and Frantz Reichel (FRA) were the strongest performers in the heats and this is expected to be a close race.

Records to Beat
Herbert Jamison set the fastest time of 53.51 in the heats.


Thomas Burke (USA) and Fritz Hofmann (GER) are both quickest off the mark. Underdog Frantz Reichel (FRA) isn't able to maintain the good form he showed yesterday and quickly falls behind the pack. Burke maintains a strong lead to the finish while Jamison and Hofmann battle for second. Jamison manages to pull alongside him in the final 50m meters, but Hofmann still clinches the silver by a slim margin.


Historical Comparison
Burke takes his Gold with a better time than he managed in the actual event. Jamison trades Silver for Bronze losing to it to Hofmann, who only placed fourth in the historic final. Historic bronze winner Gmelin didn't make it through the heats.


Shot Put
In the Shot Put we have seven athletes from five nations competing. We'll be able to conclude this event in just one round.
Following my earlier comments on the game charts given for Triple Jump, I also find the results for Shot Put a little off (at least for 1896). In this respect I have house ruled to divide by two all results rolled on Chart F when used for Shot Put.

Records to Beat
The first world record for Shot Put was only set in 1909 by Ralph Rose (USA) at 15.54m.


Robert Garrett's second throw is the best by far and Garrett walks away with his third Gold of the games. The only other athlete to break 11 meters is Miltiadis Gouskos (GRE) who takes Silver. Ellery Clark (USA) gets an injury on his second throw and is out of the games.


Historical Comparison
An exact match up against all the historical winners, with the Gold and Silver distances only 1cm off the actual results. This makes me feel happier about my simple house ruling for resolving Shot Put (at least for these 1896 games).


1500 Meters
The last Athletic event for 7th April is the 1500 Meters. We have eight athletes competing from five different nations, so the race will be run in one single heat.

Records to Beat
We have data from pre-IAAF records for the 1500 meters dating back to 1892. At the time of the 1896 Olympiad, the record was held by Thomas Conneff (USA) with a time of 4:15.6. Albin Lermusiaux (FRA), who had set an earlier record of 4:18.4 in 1895, runs in these games and would later set a new record of 4:10.4 two months after the Olympics.


An exciting run despite a high number of drop outs, including record setter Albin Lermusiaux (FRA). Konstantinos Karakatsanis (GRE) makes a good run but just can't keep up with the leaders in the last 50 meters. Arthur Blake (USA) and Edwin Flack (AUS) battle it out closely over the last 200 meters, with Flack taking the Gold by a whisker.


Historical Comparison
Flack and Blake takes the same positions as they managed in the historical outcome, although it was a slightly slower race for both. Lermesiaux was a surprise drop out and we see a relatively weak Greek runner, Karakatsanis, take the bronze instead.


7 April Round-Up
A lot more medals were earned today and I'll need a small table to summarize. The US athletes are clearly the strongest but the numerous Greeks are scoring a good deal of metal for the host nation.



Two more injuries today, in the Long Jump and Shot Put, see James Connolly (USA) and Ellery Clark (USA) drop out of the games. It's a big disappointment for the US team as both were strong entrants for the High Jump event tomorrow.

This session report is still to be continued with the 800 meter finals on April 9 and the last four events and closing ceremony on April 10....
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9th April

800 Meters (Final)
The finals for the 800 meter race is the first and only athletic event before the last day of the games tomorrow.

Records to Beat
Nandor Dani (HUN) ran the best time in the heats with 2:14.5.


Georges de la Neziere (FRA) doesn't manage to complete but it's an extremely close race for the remaining three, with a nice performance from Dimitrios Golemis (GRE) against two much stronger runners. Edwin Flack (AUS) is quickest into the last bend but but Nandor Dani (HUN) overtakes and holds the lead to the end. A first, and well-deserved, Gold for Hungary.


Historical Comparison
A slightly slower run, but much closer than the historical. Dani and Flack trade places for Gold and Silver while Golemis takes the historical Bronze with a far better flourish in these games. Historically, it was Albin Lermusiaux as the fourth runner but he elected not to compete in order to save himself for the marathon.


So, the last day of the 1896 games is currently in progress and will be wrapped up with my next post...
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10th April

100 meters (Final)
The last day of these Olympics begins much as did the first, with the 100 Meters.

Records to Beat
Thomas Burke holds the record in the heats with a time of 12.03 seconds.


An interesting final with Thomas Burke (USA) dominating the lead, as expected, to take his second Gold medal. What is more notable is the sub par performance from the two other US athletes Curtis and Lane. Fritz Hofmann (GER) finishes a strong second but it's an unexpected third place for Alajos Szokolyi (HUN).


Historical Comparison
Strangely enough, the results are extremely close to historical. The potential upset, Thomas Curtis, didn't actually compete in order to save himself for the 110 meter hurdles. Burke and Hoffman are the clear winners, and that isnot too surprising, but Lane's historical performance was actually closely run with Szokolyi to see both receive the Bronze. In these games, Lane was pipped by only one hundredth of a second, which wasn't really a measurable difference in 1896.


High Jump
Next up comes the High Jump with five athletes competing from three different nations. Unfortunately two of the three US athletes have had to drop out due to injuries received earlier in the games. So we're left with only three athletes for the High Jump.

Records to Beat
The first High Jump record was set in 1881, but at the time of the 1896 games the current record holder was Michael Sweeney (USA) with a height of 1.91m. None of the competitors in these games will be able to beat that.


A fairly average result without the participation of the strong US jumpers. Robert Garrett (USA) puts on a good performance to make the winning height, earning his fourth Gold of the games!


Historical Comparison
The two drop outs, Ellery Clark and James Connolly, took Gold and Silver in the actual event. Robert Garrett also tied for Silver and takes the Gold instead, setting a much better height in these games. Sjoberg and Hoffman, in fourth and fifth places, match their historic results fairly well. They simply move up to take Silver and Bronze.


110 Meter Hurdles (Final)
The second to last event will be the finals for the 110 Meter Hurdles. We will have all four runners competing from the heats, although in the actual games two of them dropped out to work on other events.

Records to Beat
Thomas Curtis (USA) ran the best race in the heats with a time of 17.98 seconds.


An exciting final with Grantley Goulding (GBR) strong off the mark. Thomas Curtis (USA) does his best to catch him but just can't quite get close enough.


Historical Comparison
The actual event only saw Curtis and Goulding in the race. Hoyt pulled out to prepare for the Pole Vault and Reichel left off to assist Albin Lermusiaux for the marathon run. Curtis won the actual race by inches and was a hair short of managing that on this occassion, even with his strong finishing capability.


Pole Vault
And so we move on to the final event of the 1896 Olympics, the Pole Vault. We have five athletes competing from only two nations.

Records to Beat
The first world record for the Pole Vault wasn't recorded until 1912, with March Wright (USA) setting a height of 4.02 meters. We won't be able to contest this at the time of the games in 1896.


An injury to Evangelos Damaskos (GRE) sees one athlete drop out. The US team should be far stronger here, but is off-form today. A star performance from Ioannis Theodoropolous (GRE) comes down to a tie-breaker decision and leaves the host nation in tears of joy, with the first and only Gold medal win for Greece.

Historical Comparison
Hoyt and Theodoropolous trade places for Gold and Bronze, a nice ending for the Greeks. Damaskos also tied for a bronze medal in the historical event but ended badly here.


Closing Ceremony
That's it for the 1896 Olympic Games with all the medal winners summarized below.









Conclusions
These TCS rules provide a nice, simple statistical replay for the Olympics. I've only covered the Athletic events here, since I only have 1896 data to cover this sport, but TCS does provide a lot more rule-sets and data so you would be able to replay some ten to fifteen complete Olympic sporting events from 1972 onwards if you had everything currently available.

Roberto has put all his games up for sale over this Thanksgiving weekend so I've gone ahead and purchased the full shebang. I'm sure I will be a much older chap before I can ever get through this lot, but I'd like to try and post up a report on one big set of Olympic games before I'm done. And if anyone is interested in collaborating on an email replay please let me know.

There are about fifteen different sports covered so far but I'm still hoping to see Cycling, Gymnastics, Equestrian, Martial Arts, Sailing, Weightlifting and more. Come on Roberto, 2012 Olympics are over but you've gone this far, surely you'd be the only person ever to do a game on Synchronized Swimming! Before 2016, if you please!
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Federico
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Very nice, thanks for the session report!

I like athletics, but didn't even know this game existed. The only one I knew of was Reiner Knizia's Decathlon. Score another for scouring BGG's homepage for the latest reviews and session reports!

One more thing:
Quote:
Perhaps Hoyt should have left off the Hurdles earlier.

He did, he arrived last in the heats
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Mike D
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Hey Federico thanks for checking back! Eagle eyes on Hoyt, my friend.
I got confused comparing my own games with the real one.

I'm trying to figure out what to do next, but I want to try one more Olympics from the early years. I think I've settled on Amsterdam, 1928. My "Early Years" data goes from 1896 to 1932, but '32 was the Great Depression and not everyone could make it over to Los Angeles.

Amsterdam '28 will include a lot more Athletics, plus the Women's events too. With the other rules I've picked up this weekend I can also include the Swimming events, Fencing and Soccer. It should be good.

If I can get through all that then maybe I'll go for one of the big games with everything.
 
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Mike D
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Me too. I've known of Lambourne Games for a long time and they really raise the bar on sports simulation. But they are quite expensive and not available in pdf as far as I know.

Interesting that you mention Knizia's game since I was a little disappointed to find TCS data sets don't cover the Decathlon. I have since located another game "The Combined Events" which is a derived from a Lambourne title. It is available in pdf from http://www.sportsreplays.net but I'm not sure whether it's a complete game in it's own right or requires the latest version of Replay World of International Athletics. If I pick it up just for Decathlon / Hepthathlon I also hope it would take the game mechanics to a different level of detail than the TCS rules.


Fede__ wrote:
I like athletics, but didn't even know this game existed. The only one I knew of was Reiner Knizia's Decathlon. Score another for scouring BGG's homepage for the latest reviews and session reports!
 
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