So, how and why
did it all begin?
Greece, they often combined religious festivals with sporting events, to
honor certain gods. The Greeks held the following: The Pythian
The Nemean Games
The Isthmian Games
The Olympic Games
the last one, the Olympics, that were held for the Greek God Zeus and
were also the most popular with the people. The first game is said to be
held at Olympia, Greece in 776 B.C. and has been held every 4 years
since = 1,168 years!
came under the rule of the Roman Empire and the Olympic games were
declined, to the point where they actually declined in 393 B.C. by the
Christian Roman Emperor, Theodosius I, who objected to what he felt were
some "pagan rites" associated with the games.
beginning, the Olympic games were confined to just one day and one
event. That event was a footrace that was the length of the
stadium. Soon, additional races were added as the popularity grew,
as well as discus and javelin throws (tosses), broad jumps, boxing,
wrestling, chariot racing and a pentathlon. The pentathlon was
composed of 5 different track and field competitions.
I guess for
those who weren't so physically athletic, they also included
competitions for poetry, dramatists and orators.
length of the games extended to 5 days and the winners (often like
today) were celebrated and considered national and local heroes.
Baron Pierre de
Coubertin of France, and educator and scholar wanted to discourage
professionalism in sports by holding amateur world championships.
As a result, he's the one who is credited with reviving the Olympics as
we know them today around the late 19th century.
Olympiad of modern times was held under the King of Greece in 1896 in a
new stadium built for the purpose of Athens. Since that time, the
games have been held in cities all over the world at 4-year intervals,
with an exceptional lapse during World War I and World War II.
It wasn't until
1924 when the Olympics became seasonally separated into the Winter
Olympics and the Summer Olympics.
Olympics are normally set at resorts for the Winter games and in large
cities for the Summer games. And to help hosting cities prepare, in 1994
the 4-year cycle became split where the games were 2 years apart between
the seasons. An example is:
Winter Games in 1994 and and 1998, but the Summer Games in 1996 and
Olympic Games have right now 23 approved sports including archery,
basketball, boxing, conoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football
(aka soccer), gymnastics, modern pentathlon, rowing, swimming, diving,
volleyball, water polo, weight lifting, wrestling, and yachting.
The newest summer sport of synchronized swimming was added due to
Games include biathlon (skiing and shooting), bobsledding, ice hockey,
luge, ice skating (figure and speed). During the last winter
Olympics in 1998, winter snowboarding was accepted as an official winter
countries compete and send thousands of athletes (male and female) to
the Summer Olympics. The Winter Olympics are smaller as far as
nations sending athletes. They have about 60 countries that
participate. Countries that have an environment that fits a sport
usually dominates a sport. But sometimes a country will challenge
traditions. One good example was the Jamaican Bobsled team.
Although it had no snow to practice, and it came in last, it won the
hearts of the world with it's sincere efforts.
especially color!) has increased the popularity of the Olympics
worldwide. And in some ways has also been the cause of it's
commercialism that some complain about, often resulting in what some
consider "prejudicial judging" because the common pattern is
that only the medal winners (esp. those with the Gold) get offers for
commercial product endorsements and potential financial earning power in