The Olympic games began over 2,700 years ago in Olympia, in South West Greece, in the late 19th century.
In the inception of the ancient games six sporting events were highlighted:
- Wrestling and Boxing
- Horse Racing
- Long Jump
From the 8th BC to the 4th Century AD, the Olympic games were held every four years in Olympia. The first modern Olympics took place in 1896 in Athens with 280 participants from 13 nations, competing in 43 events. Since 1944, the summer and Winter Olympic Games have been held separately and have alternated every two years.
In 2004 the Summer Olympics returned to Athens for the first time in more than a century, nearly 11, 000 athletics from a record of 201 countries competed.
Barbados at the Olympics
Olympic debut: Summer: Mexico City 1968
Olympic participation: Summer: 1968 – Present
Barbadians first competed as part of the West Indies Federation in 1960. Barbadian athlete James Wedderburn was part of the 4×400 m relay team which won the bronze medal that year.
Barbados is a relatively small island country but they have been part of the Olympics since the 1960 Summer Games in Rome. Barbados was part of the British West Indies (BWI) delegation in 1960, joining athletes from Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
They did participate in the Summer Games as an independent nation starting 1968 when they sent nine athletes to Mexico City, Mexico. From that point on, they have consistently participated in the Summer Games except when they chose to join the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Games held in Moscow, Russia. Despite its consistent determination, Barbados has never won an Olympic medal until September 2000 when Obadele Thompson took the bronze medal in the men’s 100 meters (athletics) in Sydney, Australia.
In 1960, when Barbados was part of the British West Indies delegation, James Wedderburn, a Barbadian-born athlete was one of the four-man relay team in the 400 meters who won the bronze as well. But since Barbados was part of the BWI then, it was not officially added to the Olympic medal count of the country. As with most Caribbean countries, Barbados has never competed in the Winter Olympic Games. This is mainly due to the fact that Barbados simply do not have the facilities and resources to adequately train for the Winter Games.
The ONLY year Barbados won a medal at the OLYMPIC games was Sydney 2000 with Obadele Thompson.