Olympic Games

Ancient Olympic Games

The origin of the ancient Olympic Games is lost in the midst of Pre-history, but for many centuries they were only a festival of the Greek People. The Games were first held in honour of the Greek god, Zeus in 776 BC in the plain of the kingdom of Elis, nestled in a lush valley between the Alpheus River and Mount Kronion, 15 km from the Ionian Sea. The Olympiad celebrated that year was considered as the first and was used to date subsequent historic events. But religious ceremonies and games were helo in Olympia before that time. The oldest sanctuary of Greece was there,the alter of the Great Mother of Gods, Rhea (Earth). On the day of the feast,the priest stood front of the altar, ready to perform a sacrifice. Women were forbidden to be present and the male contestants were naked. Young men waited at a distance on one stadium (about 200 yds). As soon as a signal was given ran and the first to arrive at the altar received the torch from the priest’s hand and lit the sacrificial fire.
The old Olympiads were held after every four years and the Greeks measured time in terms of Games started on the first new moon after the summer solstice, around mid-July. The ancient Olympic games lasted for five days and the events took place in a precise order. On the first day, there were sacrifices and opening ceremonies. On the second day there were special competitions for the "ephebians . The third day was devoted to events for adult competitors: dromos, diaulos, dolichos, pugilism, wrestling, pancratium. On the fourth day, there were equestrian events, pentathlon, race with arms. On the fifth and the final day, there were closing CEremonies and proclamation of the heroes.
During the first six Olympic Games, however, the prize had been a portion of meat or 'meria' taken from an animal sacrificed to the gods. It was only after the VII Games that the olive crown was given to the winners and the moral significance of this prize was considerable. Once the prize were awarded, a flock of pigeons was released to carry the names of the champions to all the comers of Greece.

Modem Olympic Games

The revival work of the Games was undertaken by Baron Pierre de Coubertin nearly 1,500 years after the last of the ancient Games. He was born into a family of Italian origin which had settled in France. It was on November 25, 1S92, during a conference at Sorbonne about the history of physical exercises, that he first pronounced those famous six words in public "The Restoration of the Olympic Games!" He said that the Games would ennoble and strengthen amateur sports to give them strength and lasting quality for an essential role in the world of modem education.
It was at the International Congress for the Study of the Propagation of the Principles of Amateurism held in Paris in June 1894 that the delegates led by Baron Pierre de Coubertin and associates unanimously voted to restore the Olympic Games and to create an International Olympic Committee to oversee them. De Coubertin had planned to propose Paris for the site of the first modern Olympics in 1900 but the enthusiasm and zeal of the delegates was so great that they insisted the first Games to be held in 1896. Athens was, therefore, the venue for the 1896 Games. Since then these Games are held every’ four years.