The modern Olympic Games (often referred to simply as "The Olympics" began with the establishment of the International Olympic Committee in 1894 and the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in the year 1896. That year the Olympic Games attracted less than 250 athletes in competition. This number is minuscule compared to modern standards, but was the largest athletic competition of its day.
The Olympics Struggle for a time following their initial success, but by the second decade of the 20th century the Olympics had taken root in the hearts and minds of athletes and spectators throughout the world.
In 1924 the Olympics were divided into summer games and winter games, with both game events hosted in the same year, although in different places. This schedule was changed following the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona Spain (summer) and Albertville, France (winter). Two years following the 1992 Olympics, Lillehammer, Norway hosted the winter Olympics, and since then the winter and summer games each follow a four year cycle with alternating winter and summer Olympics held every two years.
The summer Olympics is a much larger event in terms of events competed, number of athletes who participate, and number of nations represented. The 2004 summer Olympics in Athens, Greece drew nearly 11,100 athletes from 202 participating nations, while the 2006 winter Olympics in Turin, Italy drew 2,633 athletes from 80 participating nations.
The three top finishers in Olympic events are granted medals based on their performance, with a gold medal granted to the first place, silver to second place and bronze to third place. There is no monetary award for Olympic performance.