THE OLYMPIC GAMES

The ancient Olympic Games were primarily a part of a religious festival in honor of Zeus, the father of the Greek gods and goddesses. The festival and the games were held in Olympia a rural sanctuary site in the western Peloponnesos. The Greeks that came to the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia shared the same religious beliefs and spoke the same language. The rules were very strict. The athletes were all male citizens of the city-states from every corner of the Greek world and not to have committed murder or sacrilege. Slaves and women were forbidden to watch the Games. The administration was in the hands of the city-state of Pissa but after a series of conflicts came under the control of Elis.The sanctuary was named in antiquity after mountaint Olympos the highest mountain in mainland Greece. In Greek mythology, mountaint Olympos was the home of the greatest of the Greek gods and goddesses. The ancient Olympic Games began in the year 776 BC, when Koroibos, a cook from the nearby city of Elis, won the stadion race, a foot race 600 feet long. According to some literary traditions, this was the only athletic event of the games for the first 13 Olympic festivals or until 724 BC. From 776 BC, the Games were held in Olympia every four years for almost 12 centuries.
Contrary evidence, both literary and archaeological, suggests that the games may have existed at Olympia much earlier than this date, perhaps as early as the 10th or 9th century BC.

FROM ANCIENT TO MODERN

Although the ancient Games were staged in Olympia, Greece, from 776 BC through 393 AD, it took 1503 years for the Olympics to return. The first
modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. The man responsible for its rebirth was a Frenchman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who
presented the idea in 1894. His original thought was to unveil the modern Games in 1900 in his native Paris, but delegates from 34 countries were so enthralled with the concept that they convinced him to move the Games up to 1896 and have Athens serve as the first host.

THE OLYMPIC FLAME

The idea of the Olympic torch or Olympic Flame was first inaugurated in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. There was no torch relay in the ancient
Olympic Games. There were known, however, torch relays in other ancient Greek athletic festivals including those held at Athens. The modern Olympic
torch relay was first instituted at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The Olympic flame has been carried to the Games as a symbol of Peace, friendship and brotherhood among people. The Olympic Oath was introduced in 1920.

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