I saw this on MyHeritage recently – He Was the 1st Olympic Champion in 1,500 Years… and No One Cared: https://blog.myheritage.com/2021/07/he-was-the-1st-olympic-champion-in-1500-years-and-no-one-cared/. Longer article, but here are some basics.
By Esther July 28, 2021
The Olympic Games have their origins in ancient Greece, but the modern revival we know today — the international competition where countries from all over the world send delegations to compete — was founded in the late 19th century. The first modern Olympiad was held in Athens in 1896, and featured 280 participants from 13 countries competing in 43 events. In this historic event, the first person to win a gold medal in a modern Olympic competition was American athlete James B. Connolly.
So why have you never heard of him?
These days, Olympic medalists become national heroes. Even if it’s silver or bronze, winning an Olympic medal is a source of enormous pride — the ultimate glory an athlete can bring home.