Learn all about the ancient and modern-day Olympic Game’s!*Click on the links to find out more information*
The ancient Olympic Game’s.
The origins of the ancient Olympic Game’s are surrounded by mythical tales. The ancient Olympic Game’s is believed to have been started over 2,700 years ago (776 BC) in Olympia, Greece by Heracles (the Roman Hercule’s) a son of Zeus and were part of a religious festival. The Games were held in honour of Zeus, King of the Gods.
As the Olympic’s were a religious event for the Greeks, a temple was built on the site of Olympia, which was dedicated to Zeus. It held a gold and ivory statue of the King of the Gods and stood 42 feet high. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The ancient Olympic Game’s grew and continued to be happen every four years for nearly 1,200 years. This four year period was known as an ‘Olympiad’. The Roman emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, abolished the Games in 393 AD because of what he believed was their pagan influence.
The ancient Olympic games were basically a men only event with married women not even being allowed to watch. If they tried to enter they were sometimes killed. Though the female Priestess of Demeter was always present at the Games.
Some of the events that were held in the ancient Olympic’s were the Foot Race, the Pentathlon, the Long Jump, Javelin and Discus, Wrestling, Boxing, Equestrian chariot racing and the Pankration. The Pankration was a dangerous combination of boxing and wrestling, anything went except biting and gouging!
The award for an Olympic winner was to be crowned with an olive wreath and to have his name inscribed in the official Olympic records. Some Olympic victors were fed for the rest of their lives by their ‘poleis‘ (a Greek City or State), although they were never paid. Victors were considered heroes who passed on their great honour to their city/states.
The modern Olympic Game’s.
The idea of the new modern Olympic Game’s was born in 1892 in Paris by Baron Pierre de Coubertin. The first modern Olympic’s was held in Greece in 1896, attracted athletes from the United States, Great Britain and 11 other nations.
The Summer Olympic Game’s have been held every four years ever since, with the exception of the wartime years 1916, 1940 and 1944.
The total number of participating Olympic athletes has grown from the 285 at Athens in 1896 to approximately 10,600 in Barcelona in 1992.
At the first modern Olympic Games in Athens 1896, no women athletes competed. Olympic founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin felt that their inclusion would be, “Impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and incorrect.”
Women first competed at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris. Eleven women were allowed to compete in lawn tennis and golf. The first woman to win an Olympic event was England’s Charlotte Cooper, who won the tennis singles in 1900.
In 1928, women competed in track and field events for the first time. However, so many women collapsed at the end of the 800 metre race that the event was banned until 1960!
There are only two Olympic sports where men and women compete against each other, they are sailing and equestrian events.
The Olympic rings are the symbol of the modern Olympic Game’s. In 1913, the founder and driving force of the modern day Olympic’s, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, saw a similar design on an ancient Greek artifact and decided that it would be perfect to adopt as the new Olympic symbol. The five rings represent the five major regions of the World, being Africa, the America’s, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The rings are coloured blue, yellow, black, green and red, but the colours were never intended to represent individual countries or regions.
In 1921 the motto for the Olympic Game’s was born, being the Latin phrase – Citius, Altius, Fortius (‘Swifter, Higher, Stronger’).
The Olympic flame is a tradition continued from the ancient Olympic Game’s. In ancient Olympia, a flame was ignited by the sun and then kept burning until the closing of the Olympic Game’s. The Olympic flame first appeared in the modern Olympic’s at the 1928 Olympic Game’s in Amsterdam. The flame represents a number of things, including purity and the endeavour for perfection. The modern Olympic flame is lit at the ancient site of Olympia by women wearing ancient-style robes and using a curved mirror and the sun as in the ncient Olympic’s. The Olympic Torch is then passed in the Olympic Relay, from runner to runner from the ancient site of Olympia to the Olympic stadium in the Olympic hosting city. The flame is then kept burning until the Games have finished. The Olympic flame represents a continuation from the ancient Olympic Game’s to the modern Olympic’s.
The last Olympic gold medals to be made entirely out of gold were awarded in 1912.
The Winter Olympic Game’s.
The Winter Olympic Games is also held every four years. The first Winter Olympic’s were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France. The original winter sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating. Through the years many new sports have been added such as luge, short track speed skating and freestyle skiing.
The Winter Olympics have been hosted on three continents, but never in a country in the southern hemisphere. The United States has hosted the Games four times, France has been the host three times, Austria, Canada, Italy, Japan, Norway and Switzerland have all hosted the Games twice.
Watch the video below as it gives a brief run down of The History of the Olympic Game’s.