Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Five Emmy nominations went to the two-part TV drama The First Olympics: Athens 1896. The story begins in 1894, when Baron Pierre de Courbetin (Louis Jourdan) announces his intention to stage the first Olympic games of the Modern Era within two years in Athens. The baron heads to the US to recruit an athletic team. Despite disinterest, opposition and spotty funding, de Courbetin assembles his team with the help of Princeton professor William Sloane. The thirteen chosen Americans have a pretty bumpy time of it, but most survive to the final Olympic contest: the grueling Marathon. The supporting cast is top-heavy with veterans from both America and England, including Angela Lansbury, Honor Blackman, Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna. Among the leading players is future NYPD Blue star David Caruso as Irish-American athlete James Connolly. Originally running five hours, The First Olympics was first telecast May 20 and 21, 1986.