This edition, which marked the 40<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Mediterranean Games, took place in the period between June 28 and July 12, at a time when Greece had been beaten the previous year in their bid for organising the Centennial Olympic Games. The country would make a comeback in 1997 when it was awarded the hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games. 18 nations participated in these Games with 663 medals being awarded in 23 sports disciplines. 2,762 athletes took part in this edition, among which 586 women.
The athletics events took place in the stadium that hosted the European Athletics Championships in 1982 and the World Championships in 1997. As usual, it was Italy that stood out by finishing first with its athletes ascending the podium 167 times and recording 66 titles. Libya, Malta, Monaco and San Marino did not win any medals. The Turkish weightlifters really stood out and in particular Halil Mutlu, who won three Olympic titles in 1996, and of course the star of the discipline, Naim Suleymanoglu, who also won three Olympic titles.
Their fellow Turkish wrestlers followed their example by winning nine out of the ten available titles in freestyle wrestling. However, the grand champion of these Athens Games was the gymnast Yuri Chechi, nicknamed “The Lord of the Rings”, who won six gold medals.