FIRSTS IN OLYMPIC HISTORY
The opening heat of the men's 100-meter dash was the first race of the modern Olympics. U.S. sprinter Thomas Burke had the fastest time in the heats and went on to take the gold medal in the final with a time of 12.0 seconds.
A group of wooden cabins was built in the Parisian suburb of Rocquencourt to accommodate the 3,089 athletes—a 15% increase from the 1920 Games in Antwerp—in the first Olympic Village.
The first Olympic flame was lit at the top of a 40-meter tower called the Marathontoren. Architect Jan Wils wanted the flame to contrast with church towers because Christian politicians had opposed holding the Games in the country.
Starting blocks were used in the Olympics for the first time during the 1936 Berlin Games. Before, swimmers took off from the edge of the pool deck; with the elevated blocks, they were able to enter the water farther out and with greater velocity on their opening dives.