Olympics: A brief history



The Olympics games date back to 3000 years ago in Ancient Greece. They, however, came back in the 19th century and today are the world’s most popular competition in sports. Starting in the 8th century B.C, these games were held in the interval of four years in western Peloponnese peninsula to remember and honor their God Zeus. Modern Olympics started in Athens in 1896, including 280 competitors from 13 nations. Post 1994, both Summer and Winter Olympics have been held separately with intervals of four years.

The main difference between the ancient and modern Olympics is that the ancient Olympics were held to honor their God and consisted of different activities like music, theatre, and oration. However, the Modern Olympics has stuck to sports events and activities to honor the talent of citizens of different nations. According to a legend, Hercules, the son of Roman God Zeus founded these games and the name of these games is derived from the site of Olympia. When the games revived in 1896, it featured the first marathon in which the Greek soldier ran a 25- mile route from Marathon to Athens to inform victory over the Persians. Spyridon Louis won the first gold medal in this marathon. Since then, a standardized distance was fixed for every such marathon.

Participation in the Olympics was first only allowed for men and married women were not even allowed to witness the game. Many games were included like a long-distance race, boxing,, pentathlon which included five events- a foot race, a long jump, discus and javelin throws and a wrestling match, pankration was a combination of another two events- boxing and wrestling. However, after Romans conquered Greece, the quality of the game and the events declined. It was because of Baron de Coubertin of France who helped revive these games after 1500 years. He preached the idea and importance of physical education in a meeting held in 1982 and began the Modern Olympics as an international sports event between different nations. His efforts also went in the way of founding the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which is the governing body for the games.

The modern Olympics began in 1896 with a crowd of 60,000 spectators, cheering for 280 male participants from 13 nations competing with each other in sports like track and field, gymnastics, swimming, wrestling, cycling, tennis, weightlifting, shooting, and fencing. The Olympic games did not happen during the first and the second World War in 1916, 1940, and 1944 respectively.

The symbol of the modern Olympics is five interlocked, colored rings, representing the five continents of North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia. The Modern Olympic flag first appeared in the Antwerp Games in 1920. In 1924, a Winter Olympics was added for cold-weather sports to be held in the same year as the Summer Olympics. The first of these was held in 1980 at Chamonix, France. However, after 1992, the Winter Games were held according to a different schedule because of the increasing size of both Olympics.

BY- Alankrita Tiwari


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