The History Of The Olympic Games

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Introduction


Today, the Olympic Games are the world's largest pageant of athletic skill and competitive spirit. They are also displays of nationalism, commerce and politics. Well-known throughout the world the games have been used to promote understanding and friendship among nations, but have also been a hotbed of political disputes and boycotts. The Olympic games started thousands of years ago and lasted over a millennium.. The symbolic power of the Games lived on after their demise, and came to life again as the modern Olympic Games being revived in the last century. Both the modern and Ancient Olympics have close similarities in there purpose and in there problems.

Ancient Olympics


The ancient Olympics had some differences from the modern Games. There were fewer events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete, instead of athletes from any country. Women where not allowed to even watch the games on penalty of death let alone play in them.. Also, the games were always held at Olympia in Greece instead of being moved around to different sites every time. But also they had some similarities to our modern Olympics, winning athletes were heroes who put their home towns on the map, and became financially sound for life.
The conflict between the Olympic?s ideals of sportsmanship and unity and the commercialism and political acts which accompany the Games where also present in ancient times. ?Sotades at the ninety-ninth Festival was victorious in the long race and proclaimed a Cretan, as in fact he was. But at the next Festival he made himself an Ephesian, being bribed to do so by the Ephesian people. For this act he was banished by the Cretans.?

The first Olympic games at Olympia were held in 776 BC. According to Hippias of Elis, who compiled a list of Olympic victors c.400 BC, the only event held at the first Olympics was the stadion footrace. Scholars have speculated that the games in 776 BC were not the first games, but rather the first games held after they were organized into festivals held every four years as a result of a peace agreement between the city-states Greece.

Every four years the games where started on the first full moon after the summer solstice, lasting for five days. For over 1100 years, from 776 BC to 393 AD the games where played, thousands of people ceased all warfare and flocked to a small sanctuary in northwestern Greece for five days in the late summer for a single reason, to witness the Olympic Games. During that time, competitors from all over the Greek world competed in a number of athletic events and worshiped the gods at the sanctuary of Olympia. The athletes competed not for money or material goods, although they received them , but only for the honor of being an Olympic victor. A Olympian that had the hounor of winning an event was held in high esteem the rest of there lives

The Olympic Games were held every 4 years, and where never interrupted. The games were even held in 480 BC during the Persian Wars. In 146 BC, the Romans gained control of Greece and, therefore, of the Olympic games. In 85 BC, the Roman general Sulla plundered the sanctuary to finance his campaign against Mithridates. Sulla also moved the 175th Olympiad to Rome. The games were held every four years from 776 BC to 393 AD. With the spread of Christianity, the games declined in popularity. They were finally abolished by the Christian Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I in 393 AD.. The ancient Olympic Games lasted for 1170 years.

Modern Olympics


The revival of the Modern Olympic was on account of a French educator named Baron Pierre de Coubertin. He started this dream in 1894 when he founded the International Olympic Committee with the intention of restoring the Ancient Olympic Games which had been held bettween 776 BC and AD 393. He believed that international competitions between amateur athletes would help promote friendly relationships between people from different countries. Despite strong opposition de Coubertin assembled 79 delegates from 12 countries to attend the international congress for the re-establishment of the Olympic Games. It was decided to hold the first modern Olympics in Athens in two years time.

The Athens Games of 1896 were a great success. The Olympics had returned to the land of their birth. On April 5th the Games were opened by King George