History of Olympic Games Essay

This essay has a total of 1502 words and 7 pages.

History of Olympic Games



History of Olympic Games


The Olympic games are thegreatest sports event in the world. For many years, the Greeks
used games for many reasons. The official ancient games were started in Greece. The
first modern games in Athens, Greece, were held from April 6 through April 15 in the year
of 1896. Since then, major world events plagued some of the Olympic games.

There are a lot of examples of games being held in early Greece. There are also different
stories on how they got started. One says that the guardians of Zeus held a foot race or
that Zeus himself held the foot race to celebrate his victory for control of the world.
Another story says that Pelops, a Greek hero, won a chariot race in order to mary his
wife. After the start of the Olympics, in approximately 776 B.C. the games continued
every four years until 393 A.D. and were held in Olympia, Greece. They were held in
Olympia because Greeks honored Gods and it was the oldest religious center in Greece. It
was also convenient for travelers. Foot races were the only event for the first 13 years
and then events included chariot races, discus matches and boxing. “Like every other
Greek activity, the games were held under the patronage of the gods, and after sacrifice
had been made to them.” (Quennel 156) Athletic training was part of education and games
were held to keep men physically fit for war, because the Greek people believed if you had
a healthy body you had a healthy mind and people liked to watch beautiful bodies. People
who competed in the Olympics had to train in Olympia for one month before the games. Men
and boys were allowed to compete in the games. Women weren’t allowed to compete, but they
could enter horse events either as an owner of a chariot or a horse. Single women could
attend the games, but married women couldn’t. If they did and they were caught, they were
put to death. The Pentathlon became a main event at the 18th Olympiad. Winners of all
events received a crown of olive leaves and could have a statue built of himself and set
up in Olympia. They were treated like a celebrity and some even received all meals free,
front row seats at the theater or festivals, and other benefits. There were ten Judges
and all were Elean Greeks because they had a reputation of being fair. The penalty for
cheating by athletes was that they were fined. Politics were part of the ancient Olympic
games. They would sometimes include arguments between rivals. They were also the scene
of peace-making and a truce was announced before the games so that people could travel
safely.

We know a lot more about today’s Olympics, although there are some things that are the
same. We currently have more events, more athletes, Judges from around the world, and
Gold, Silver or Bronze medals given to the winners. Our current winning athletes still
are athletes and are given special privileges. But, we still have had political issues at
several of the games. Modern Olympic games now include over 10,000 athletes from over 195
countries. There are approximately 26 sports and 271 events. The modern Olympic games
were established in June, 1894, when a sports congress was held at the Sorbonne of the
Paris University. The congress decided to revive the Olympic games which were to begin in
1896. The first Olympic games were held in Athens, Greece in 1896. There were nine
sports and within those sports, there were 43 events. Some of the medals awarded went to
the top scoring five countries. Those were the United States, Greece, Germany, France and
Great Britain. In addition, four of the top five medals went to Germany and one to
France. The top five most outstanding athletes were Schuhmann, Weingartner, Flatow and
Hofmann from Germany, and Paul Masson from France. When the games first started in 1896,
women were not allowed to compete. Olympic fouinder Pierre de Coubertin didn’t want women
competing. In 1930, de Coubertin wrote a letter to the International Olympic Committee
about women’s events being unacceptable. He said that women’s events were an
“unacceptable Olympic spectacle because women were weaker, slower and less dextrous than
men.”(Crane) He added that the games should be “the solemn and periodic exaltation of
more athletics, with internationalism as the base, loyalty as the means, art at the
framework and feminine applause for reward.”(Crane) Women’s games have been added ever
since 1900 when they were allowed to enter tennis, golf and mixed yachting events. In
addition to not wanting women, modern olympics have had difficulties in the area of
racism, terrorism and other major world events.

Since the beginning of the Olympics, major world events have plagued some of the modern
games. Rome was going to be the host for the 1908 Olympics, but the money was needed to
help the area of the country that was ruined by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The games
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