The Olympic Games is a contemporary and leading major sporting event. It features quadrennial summer and winter events where thousands of athletes across different sports compete against each other. The Olympic Games are considered the world’s foremost competitive event because more than 200 nations participate in it. Initially, the event was limited to participants of the amateur status until in the 1980s when it was extended to the professional athletes.
The Olympic Games originated in ancient Greece and gained renaissance in the 19th century. In this post, we will be looking into how the Olympics started and the ancient Olympics.
History of Olympics
The Olympic Games began in the year 776 BC at Mt. Olympos, home of the Greek gods and goddesses. The ancient Olympic Games were part of a religious festival, done every four years in honor of the father of the Greek gods and goddesses, Zeus. The games were held in a rural sanctuary called Olympia. Participants were only male citizens from every part of Greece and nations surrounding Greece.
In the early days of the competition, it took place in one day. As time went on the game spread to four days and a fifth day where prizes and banquets were given to champions. Scholars have described that the participants competed naked. The main reason behind this reason has not been ascertained.
Some of the games that are featured in the event include wrestling, running, discus throwing, jumping, pankration, equestrian events, etc. According to several texts, it is held that hostilities amongst participating city-states are suspended until after the event. This subduing of hostilities is known as Olympia peace or truce.
Legend and tradition have it that Coroebus, a cook from the city of Elis, was the first Olympic champion. He won the sprint race in 776 BCE. The winners of the event were recognized and honored through immortalization using statues and poems. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the Olympic gained huge recognition. However, its recognition declined after the Romans invaded Greece gaining power and influence, eliminating all pagan cults and practices.
The Olympic Games were revived in the 19th century. The first Olympic Games after revival took place in Athens and witnessed participants from Greece and the Ancient Ottoman Empire. Evangelos Zappas, a wealthy Greek-Romanian philanthropist, sponsored it.
Modern Olympic Games
The Olympic Games since its revival has seen major changes to the present day. The Olympic Games now take place under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee, IOC. The first Olympic Games took place in 1896 in Athens under the auspices of the IOC.
The present-day Olympic Games feature the summer games, winter games, and Paralympics all of which take place every four years. Corporate sponsors who sought to associate their brands to the Olympic symbols mainly sponsor the Olympic.
Before the Olympics commence, an opening ceremony takes place. This involves the artistic display of music, dancing, and singing representing the culture of the host nation. This is followed by the entrance of each of the participating nations with the host being the last. After this, the Olympic torch is lit.
A closing ceremony also takes place but this is after every sporting event has been concluded. The last medal presentation is also a part of the closing ceremony.