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Directors have been filming the modern Olympics almost since their start in Athens in 1896. Grainy newsreel footage exists of early 20th-century games, increasing in length and coverage with each following edition. Surviving reels of the 1912 Stockholm Games are the first to capture the Olympics from start to finish.

In 2017, the Criterion Collection, a U.S.-based film-licensing company, released “100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912-2012,” a box set of 53 movies selected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for preservation and restoration, beginning with the Stockholm footage and concluding with Caroline Rowland’s “First,” the official film of the 2012 London Olympics. This ambitious project can now be viewed on the Criterion Channel in the United States and Canada, though some of the films are available elsewhere, online and off.

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