By roughly 700 BC, athletic festivals were being held throughout Greece. The most famous of these was the Olympic Games, which were held every four years at Olympia, in honour of Zeus. Events in these early games included short, middle, and long ¬distance races, pentathlon, boxing, and wrestling, Most events required athletes - who were male - to compete totally naked!
The ancient Olympics were held in Greece and began in 776 BC, reaching the zenith of their glory by about 393 AD. The games of these times were enormous events by the standards of the day. However, the early were not held during settled times, many wars raged in the area and when you consider that many of the Olympic competitors were in the army and away fighting this must have had an affect on the outcome of the games. Many people believed that the wars would be stopped to accommodate the games. However, some historians argue that the wars were not stopped, but that the athletes who were away fighting in the army were allowed to leave and compete in the Olympics.
Unlike the modern day Olympics only men were allowed to compete in the Games as well as this women were prohibited from even attending the games, but females did have other athletic competitions that they could participate.
The Ancient Olympics started after a night of feasting and celebration, the third day of the Olympics began with the very solemn sacrifice to Zeus. Today we still have an opening ceremony but the sacrificing has been left well behind.
Although the ancient Games were staged in Olympia , Greece, from 776 BC through 393 AD, it took 1503 years for the Olympics to return.
THE MODERN OLYMPICS
Rome conquered Greece in the 2nd century BC, and eventually abolished the Olympic Games. But in 1892, Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin - building on the ideas of others - started to campaign for the resurrection of the event. He gave a talk to the Union des Sports Athletiques in Paris, urging them to support his vision, and emphasizing the potential of the Olympic Games to unite nations around the world under a common cause.
He continued his championing of the Olympics at the Congress of Paris - a conference on international sport - in 1894. The result was an emphatic vote in favour of the revival of the Games, The organization of the event was placed in the hands of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The first president of the IOC was the Greek Demetrius Vikelas, one of de Coubertin's most vocal supporters.
The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896 and have been held every four years since then, with the exclusion of 1916 due to the Great War.
As with life in general, as the years have gone by the games have become more commercialised. Some would say that with more and more emphasise on the marketing of the Games that the Olympics are slowly being drowned, whatever people think the games are still massively popular and this years event in Beijing will attract bigger T. V audiences that ever before and will be seen by more people globally than ever before.
I try to pass on my musings on life and experiences in a way that people may find interesting to read.
You may not always agree with my writings but I hope to inform.
Harwood E Woodpecker