Today, the Olympic Games are the world’s largest pageant of athletic skill and competitive spirit. They are also displays of nationalism, commerce and politics. Well-known throughout the world the games have been used to promote understanding and friendship among nations, but have also been a hotbed of political disputes and boycotts. The Olympic games started thousands of years ago and lasted over a millennium.. The symbolic power of the Games lived on after their demise, and came to life again as the modern Olympic Games being revived in the last century.
Both the modern and Ancient Olympics have close similarities in there purpose and in there problems. Ancient OlympicsThe ancient Olympics had some differences from the modern Games. There were fewer events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete, instead of athletes from any country. Women where not allowed to even watch the games on penalty of death let alone play in them.. Also, the games were always held at Olympia in Greece instead of being moved around to different sites every time.
But also they had some similarities to our modern Olympics, winning athletes were heroes who put their home towns on the map, and became financially sound for life. The conflict between the Olympic’s ideals of sportsmanship and unity and the commercialism and political acts which accompany the Games where also present in ancient times. “Sotades at the ninety-ninth Festival was victorious in the long race and proclaimed a Cretan, as in fact he was. But at the next Festival he made himself an Ephesian, being bribed to do so by the Ephesian people. For this act he was banished by the Cretans.
The first Olympic games at Olympia were held in 776 BC. According to Hippias of Elis, who compiled a list of Olympic victors c. 400 BC, the only event held at the first Olympics was the stadion footrace. Scholars have speculated that the games in 776 BC were not the first games, but rather the first games held after they were organized into festivals held every four years as a result of a peace agreement between the city-states Greece. Every four years the games where started on the first full moon after the summer solstice, lasting for five days.
For over 1100 years, from 776 BC to 393 AD the games where played, thousands of people ceased all warfare and flocked to a small sanctuary in northwestern Greece for five days in the late summer for a single reason, to witness the Olympic Games. During that time, competitors from all over the Greek world competed in a number of athletic events and worshiped the gods at the sanctuary of Olympia. The athletes competed not for money or material goods, although they received them , but only for the honor of being an Olympic victor.
A Olympian that had the hounor of winning an event was held in high esteem the rest of there livesThe Olympic Games were held every 4 years, and where never interrupted. The games were even held in 480 BC during the Persian Wars. In 146 BC, the Romans gained control of Greece and, therefore, of the Olympic games. In 85 BC, the Roman general Sulla plundered the sanctuary to finance his campaign against Mithridates. Sulla also moved the 175th Olympiad to Rome. The games were held every four years from 776 BC to 393 AD. With the spread of Christianity, the games declined in popularity.
They were finally abolished by the Christian Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I in 393 AD.. The ancient Olympic Games lasted for 1170 years. Modern OlympicsThe revival of the Modern Olympic was on account of a French educator named Baron Pierre de Coubertin. He started this dream in 1894 when he founded the International Olympic Committee with the intention of restoring the Ancient Olympic Games which had been held bettween 776 BC and AD 393. He believed that international competitions between amateur athletes would help promote friendly relationships between people from different countries.
Despite strong opposition de Coubertin assembled 79 delegates from 12 countries to attend the international congress for the re-establishment of the Olympic Games. It was decided to hold the first modern Olympics in Athens in two years time. The Athens Games of 1896 were a great success. The Olympics had returned to the land of their birth. On April 5th the Games were opened by King George of Greece, in front of a crowd of 60000. The original Olympic medals were silver and only awarded to the winner of an event.
Thirteen countries competed at the Athens Games in 1896. Nine sports were on the agenda: cycling, fencing, gymnastics, lawn tennis, shooting, swimming, track and field, weight lifting, and wrestling. The 14-man U. S. team dominated the track and field events, taking first place in 9 of the 12 events. The Games were a success, and a second Olympiad, to be held in France, was scheduled. Olympic Games were held in 1900 and 1904, and by 1908 the number of competitors more than quadrupled the number at Athens–from 311 to 2,082.
The Olympic flag or symbol is constituted by 5 different coloured rings, blue, yellow, black, green and red. These intertwined rings were designed in 1913 by the founder of the Modern Olympics Baron Pierre de Coubertin. The five colors combined with the white background was said by Coubertin to have symbolic meaning: ” These five rings represent the five parts of the world now won over to the Olympism and ready to accept its fertile rivalries. Also the six colours thus combined represent those of all nations, with no exceptions.
This is a real international emblem. “The flag was made in Paris, at a shop adjoining the Baron’s birthplace. 3 metres long, 2 metres wide, the flag first appeared officially in Paris on the twentieth anniversary of the re-establishment of the games in 1914. It was first hoisted over an Olympic stadium in 1920, during the Antwerp Games. At the Antwerp Games the flag also first appeared carrying the new Olympic motto: “Citius, Altius, Fortius” which is Latin for Faster, Higher, Stronger. It was contrived by an educationalist supporter of Coubertin a Dominican monk, Father Henri Didon.
The Olympic flame which symbolizes the endeavor for perfection and the struggle for victory, was first introduced to the Olympics in the 1928 Amsterdam Games. The first torch relay was organized and run in Berlin in 1936. Originally the suggestion of the German, Theodore Lewald, a torch is lit at Olympia in Greece, the home of the ancient Olympics, and then carried by relay to the host city. The last runner, carrying the torch, runs into the main stadium at the time of the Opening Ceremony. The Olympic flame is then lit and allowed to burn throughout the Games until it is extinguished during the closing ceremony.