Olympic Games History: Who and Why Did the Olympics Begin?

Jeremy Caroll

More than a million competitors from all over the globe compete in summer and winter sports in the modern Olympics, also known as the Jeux Olympiques (French for “Olympic Games”). There are more than 200 countries competing in the Olympic Games, making it one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world.  The Summer and Winter Olympics alternate every four years, with the Summer Games taking place every two years and the Winter Games taking place every four years.

olympic games history

The ancient Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: v), which were held in Olympia, Greece from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD, influenced its establishment. In 1894, Baron Pierre de Coubertin established the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which resulted in the first modern Olympic Games being held in Athens in 1896. Governing the Olympic Movement is the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose organizational chart (the Olympic Charter) lays out the IOC’s role and responsibilities.

A number of adjustments have been made to the Olympic Games due to the Olympic Movement’s development in the 20th and 21st centuries. Adjustments have been made to accommodate a variety of sports and populations. The Winter Olympics have been added to accommodate snow and ice sports. The Paralympics have been added to accommodate athletes with disabilities.

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The Youth Olympic Games have been added to accommodate athletes aged 14 to 18. It is also supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Economic, political, and technical changes have necessitated the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to adapt. In response to the Eastern Bloc nations’ misuse of amateur regulations, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to permit paid athletes in the Games. The problem of corporate sponsorship and the broader commercialization of the Olympics has arisen as a result of the rising influence of mass media. As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, the 2020 Olympic Games have been postponed until 2021.

Games of the Ancient Olympians

At the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, Greece, the Ancient Olympic Games were religious and athletic festivities conducted every four years. Ancient Greek city-states and kingdoms competed against each other. Wrestling, pankration, horse racing, and chariot racing were among the combat sports featured at these Games. Conflicts between the participating city-states were said to be postponed until after the Games were over, according to reports. At the time, this lull in hostilities was referred to as the Olympic ceasefire.  When it comes to the Greeks, there was no such thing as peacetime. Because of Zeus’ protection, religious pilgrims who were on their way to Olympia were able to cross war-torn countries without incident.

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It is difficult to trace the origins of the Olympics; one prominent tale attributes the Games’ inception to Heracles and Zeus, the god of war.

Heracles, it is said, was the first to designate the competitions “Olympic” and to institute the tradition of hosting them every four years, according to legend.  According to tradition, Heracles constructed the Olympic Stadium as a tribute to Zeus after completing his twelve labors. Following its completion, he walked for 200 steps in a straight line and dubbed this distance a “stadion,” which eventually became a unit of distance (Ancient Greek: v, Latin: stadium, “stage”).

This is based on inscriptions unearthed at Olympia that name the victors of a footrace held every four years starting in 776 BC; this is the most commonly accepted genesis date for the Ancient Olympics. A pentathlon (a leaping event, a discus and javelin throw, a foot race, and wrestling), boxing, wrestling, pankration, and equestrian activities were also part of the Ancient Games’ offerings. According to legend, the first Olympic winner was Coroebus, a chef from Elis, Greece.

Olympiads in the Modern Era

It has been established since the 17th century that the name “Olympic” has been used to denote a variety of modern-day sporting competitions and competition formats. The Cotswold Games, or “Cotswold Olimpick Games,” was the first of its kind to be held at Chipping Campden, England. The earliest festivities were held between 1612 and 1642 by the lawyer Robert Dover, and they were followed by a number of others that have continued to this day. The British Olympic Association referred to these games as “the earliest stirrings of Britain’s Olympic beginnings” in their campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The Revolutionary French national Olympic festival, L’Olympiade de la République, held yearly from 1796 to 1798, likewise aimed to imitate the original Olympic Games.

Several ancient Greek Olympic sports were featured in this year’s championship. When it came to the sport in 1796, metric timekeeping was introduced for the first time.

olympic games history

1834 Oswestry, Shropshire, England, handbill advertising “Ho-Olympic Gaymes” in phonetic vernacular.
It was Gustaf Johan Schartau and others that organized the first two Olympic games in 1834 and 1836 (Olympiska spelen I Ramlösa), and a third in Stockholm in 1843 (Olympiska spelen I Stockholm). The games drew a maximum of 25,000 people.

William Penny Brookes created an Olympian Class in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England, in 1850. Brookes renamed the event the Wenlock Olympian Games in 1859. This yearly sporting event has been going on for many years now.  Brookes established the Wenlock Olympian Society on November 15, 1860.

Modifications and Alterations

It was a period of decline for the Olympics after the triumph of the 1896 Games. At the Paris Exposition in 1900 and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, the Olympic Games failed to draw much participation or attention. In the 1904 Olympics, 580 of the 650 participants were from the United States; the winner of the marathon was subsequently disqualified after a photograph of him riding in an automobile during the race was discovered.

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The 1906 Intercalated Games (so-called because they took place as the second Olympics within the third Olympiad) were held in Athens and served as a comeback for the Games. Attracting a large international field and generating a lot of public attention, these Games marked the beginning of a surge in both the popularity and scale of Olympic events. No Intercalated Games have been staged since the 1906 Games were formally recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the time (albeit not anymore).

Modern-Day Sports

In 1896, there were 241 athletes representing 14 countries; in 2016, there were almost 11,200 athletes from 207 countries.  The Winter Olympics have a more condensed scope and size; in 2018, Pyeongchang welcomed 2,922 competitors from 92 countries in its inaugural year. Olympic Village is where most of the athletes and officials are staying during the Games. All Olympic competitors will be housed in this self-contained facility, which includes cafeterias, health centers, and places of worship.

Because of this, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has permitted individual countries to create their own National Olympic Committees (NOCs). Political sovereignty standards set out by other international organizations are not met by these. As a result, territories such as Puerto Rico, Bermuda, and Hong Kong, all of which are legally part of another country, are allowed to compete in the Olympic Games as independent countries. It’s possible to create new NOCs to represent countries that are “recognized by the world community” under the Olympic Charter’s current edition.  Since Aruba had already recognized the Aruban Olympic Committee in 1986, the IOC refused to authorize the creation of NOCs in Sint Maarten and Curaçao when they achieved constitutional equality with Aruba in 2010.   Since 2012, former Netherlands Antilles athletes have been able to choose between representing the Netherlands or Aruba in international competitions.

The Olympic Games and Female Athletes

In spite of the fact that there were no women’s competitions in the ancient Olympic Games, numerous ladies appear in the official lists of Olympic champions as stable owners of several triumphant chariot entrants. Women of all ages in Sparta took part in local sports competitions and trained and competed as a team.

olympic games history Contests for young Greek women were uncommon before Sparta, and most likely confined to a local footrace every year. A race for young ladies as part of the Herman festival, which was conducted at Olympia every four years in honor of the goddess Hera. Despite this, the Herman race did not take place during the Olympic Games (which were held at a different time of the year) and was not likely introduced until the Roman era. Girls also participated for a short while at some other significant sporting venues during this time period.

Who and Why Did the Olympics Begin?

Despite the fact that the ancient Games were held at Olympia, Greece, from 776 BC to 393 AD, it took 1503 years for the Olympics to return. In 1896, the first modern Olympics were staged in Athens, Greece. A Frenchman called Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who proposed the notion in 1894, was responsible for its resurgence.

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