In case you are not aware the Beijing Olympics are underway and will run through Sunday, February 20.  As a self-professed fan of the games I would be the first to admit that I have less interest than ever before and the 13 hour time difference is one of several reasons.  Let’s start with the fact that holding the Olympics in China is awful and yet this is the second time in 14 years Beijing has been a host.  The IOC is a shameful group who speaks out of both sides of their mouth.  They talk about unity but award the games to a country that fails miserably when it comes to human rights.

Of course the pandemic has plagued the most recent Olympics, including ones held in South Korea this past summer which were actually delayed by a year.  There will be no international spectators and only a limited amount of those from China will be allowed to attend the various events.  In addition NBC will not be sending their announcers to the games as they will work from remote studios in Stamford, Connecticut.  It will likely be difficult to replicate the excitement of being on the scene for many of the events.

Of course like all sporting events it is the performances that will dictate how we view these games at the end of the day.  Figure skater Nathan Chen, snowboarder Shaun White and skier Mikael Shiffrin are capable of leaving us in awe of them and gold-medal efforts early in the competition might generate interest among viewers, many of whom are not sports fans but love the uniqueness of the Olympics.  A real downer for some is that NHL players will not be competing this time around because of COVID-19 so the American squad will be made up of a lot of college players.  Of course that was the case in 1980 at Lake Placid and you might remember what happened then.

By the way the next Olympics will be in the summer of 2024 in Paris and Los Angeles will host the summer games in 2028…maybe.

LOOK: 20 Fascinating Photos From the First Modern Olympic Games in 1896

To celebrate the history of international sports cooperation, Stacker took a look back at that groundbreaking event in Athens, when the modern Olympics were born in 1896. Keep reading to learn more about the athletes, spectators, and sports at that iconic event.