Meet The Very First “Team USA” From The 1896 Olympics

As mentioned, no women were allowed to take part in the 1896 Olympics. Organizers felt it would be “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and incorrect.”

However, a Greek woman named Stamata Revithi, did run the marathon the day after the official race, in a bid to persuade the Hellenic Olympic Committee to recognize the achievement. She finished the marathon in approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes and found witnesses to sign their names and verify the running time, but she was not allowed to enter the Panathinaiko Stadium at the end of the race. There is no record of her life after this event.

According to contemporary sources, a second woman, “Melpomene,” also ran the 1896 marathon race. However, there is debate among historians as to whether or not Revithi and Melpomene are the same person.