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PARIS - France
Coubertin, the French educationalist who revived the Olympic games in Greece, wanted the second games of the modern era to be held in Paris, and he wanted them grand. He was to be disappointed.The society figures who organised competitions attached much more importance to the Universal Exhibition than to the games themselves. Competitions were staggered over a period of six months. Fortunately Henri Desgranges, who three years later started the Tour de France, saved public interest in the competitions.Twenty-four years later Coubertin hoped that at last the games could be made a great success in Paris. A change in the president of the republic made him fear the worst. The funds promised by the former incumbent were not forthcoming and the games were about to be cancelled. For the first time an Olympic village, consisting of rudimentary barracks, was built. But the swimming events this time took place in an indoor pool. They revealed the American Johnny Weissmuller.These games nevertheless drew 44 nations and a record number of athletes competed. The French capital was once again a candidate for organising the games in 2008.
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