There aren’t many people who haven’t heard of the Olympic Games. Few look into its origins and evolution. The games were held initially as part of a religious festival to honor Zeus. The games can be traced back to 776 BC, though some researchers believe they could’ve started as early as the 9th Century BC. The games started out very simply, with the only competition being the Stadion race, a sprint 600 feet long. This remained the only even for the first 13 Olympic festivals. More events emerged later on, such as the Diaulos, Dolichos, and the Hoplitodromos. These were all races of increasing difficulty, with the last one requiring full armor and a shield.
The ancient Olympics housed many events such as wrestling, boxing, long jumps, discus and javelin throwing, and different types of horse races. One of the events that stands out a bit is the Pankration, a very popular combative sport with elements derived from boxing, with a form of wrestling known as ground wrestling which was unique on it’s on. Combatants could strike with a fist, or an open hand. You could twist arms and even break fingers, thought it was said to be safer than boxing, despite its violence.
The games were very popular until the Roman invasion of Olympia in 85 BC but the games carried on under their new regime. In 300 AD a Germanic invasion caused the games to be classified as a pagan ritual, which was closed in 393 AD by Christian emperor Theodosius. The games would remain dormant for another 1,500 years before it was brought back to life.
During the 19th century there were a few minor variations of the Olympic Games floating around Europe. In 1894 Pierre de Coubertin organized a congress in Paris to present the idea for a multi-nation ...
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... can accomplish. We have watched competitor struggle through the loss of a loved one or fellow competitors. Players have given up a guaranteed win in order to assist fellow competitors in need. The games have given us a glimpse at peace, such as the 2000 Sydney games with the Korean Unification flag and the unification of the two nations for the event.
To some this is more than a game. It’s a test to prove your sporting prowess and have the ultimate recognition of your struggles. For others it’s a reason to show pride in your comrades for their commitment to representing your country. For more still it’s a time to celebrate that as a people we can come together and forget the petty differences and just enjoy watching a good game together. I hope we can expand on these games in terms of events and that we can become even closer as we enjoy supporting and competing.
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