Rio 2016: History of the Olympic Games

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/8/4 9:37:50

The modern Olympic Games were inspired by the events organized by the ancient Greeks in the city of Olympia between 776 B.C. and 393 A.D. and the competition's name comes from the Greek city.

The ancient games were religious, cultural and sporting festivals carried out in ancient Greece to honor important gods. The competition brought together athletes from different regions and they had to be man and belong to a group of citizens in order to compete in the sporting categories of the time.

The first modern Olympic Games were also associated with the truce that was maintained in ancient Greece during the ancient sporting event which could not have been altered under any circumstance.

From the 8th century B.C., the Olympics were gaining more relevance in ancient Greece. The competitions alternated with sacrifices and honor ceremonies to Zeus, god of thunder, and Pelops, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia, famous for his legendary chariot race.

The number of events continued increasing and the celebrations were prolonged over several days. The first competitions were based on foot races and later on other disciplines such as wrestling, pentathlon, including several competitions such as javelin throw, discus, long jump, as well as pankration (a blend of boxing and wrestling), chariot races and artistic competitions such as music, poetry and dance, were introduced.

In Olympia, over almost 12 centuries, 293 Olympic Games were held until the Roman's conquered Greece and Roman emperor Theodosius I abolished the practice in 393 A.D. as he considered them to be a pagan festival.

Throughout the 19th century, the French and German government carried out archaeological excavations in Olympia. Finding the ruins of the ancient city, completely discovered in 1881, made the spirit and glory of the Olympic Games resurface and generated a clear willingness to recover them.

This idea became reality sue to the intervention of the French noble, Pierre Fredy, the Baron de Coubertin. The first edition of the modern Olympic Games was held in the Greek capital city of Athens in 1896.

Since then, the summer Olympic Games are held every four years in different cities all over the world, except for the 1916, 1940 and 1944 editions as they were suspended due to the outbreak of the First and Second World Wars.

The winter Olympic Games were first held in 1924 in the French town of Chamonix. At the start they were part of the summer event but, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) later considered them as a different competition.

Until 1992, the winter and summer Olympics were held in the same years, but in accordance with a 1986 decision made by the IOC to place both sets of Olympics on separate four-year cycles in alternating even-numbered years, the next winter Olympics after 1992 was in 1994.

Also, in 2007, the IOC decided to incorporate a new type of event, the Youth Olympic Games, which were held in 2010 and 2012 for the first time in their summer and winter editions, respectively.

Posted in: Olympics

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