You must have been wondering if people had admired the skilled athletes since the beginning of times. The answer is yes as even in the ancient world crowds had cheered on the most famous and beloved athletes of their era. It was all about the strength and showing that you are better than you opponent. Competing city states were rivals in many things and even went to war with each other over the smallest of misunderstandings. Still there was the time of the year that forbid war and other activities which the ancients adored so much. This time of year was used to honor the Gods trough competitive sports. The name of the competition throughout the history is the Olympics.
The first ancient Olympic Games were held as you must have already known in ancient Greece. The year was 776 BC and the best athletes from the Greek city states had arrived at a place named Stade to compete and try to win if the Gods allow it. It is claimed that the Olympic Games are even older as they were created by Hercules thus the Ancient Greeks believed that the athletes who competed at the games had to be just like this mythical hero.
There were various sports such as running i.e races, wrestling, a peanthlon which included five different sports and even chariot races. The Olympic Games were named after the place where they were held. As we had learned from history books, the Olympus was a sacred mountain to the Ancient Greeks as they believe that their anthropomorphic Gods dwell on it. By holding the Games the Greeks believed that they are honoring their Gods and especially their main deity, Zeus. Another interesting sports events which can be seen today are discus and javelin throw. The Ancient Greeks knew that there is strategy involved with these sports, not just the strength. Every free men in Greece was allowed to participate at the Games while women were not allowed to visit if they were married.
The shift in the regional balance of power in the Mediterranean and the Asia Minor had also hurt the games. Greeks were no longer a power without any opposition as the Roman Republic grew in its military, economic and cultural might. This resulted in a Roman conquest of the Greece during the mid-second century BC. As you might have guessed the Roman governor did not care about the Olympic Games all too much, as the Romans had their own much brutal gladiatorial games which were held in an arena. This caused the quality of the Games to deteriorate and not to be even close to the games which were held during the previous centuries. The most notorious example was an infamous chariot race by the Emperor Nero who fell of his chariot but declared himself a winner of the race. Emperor Theodosius who was a Christian had passed a decree in 393 AD banning all pagan rituals and festivals thus ending the Olympic Games after 12 centuries of them being held.
The next millennial wasn’t interesting in regard to the Olympic Games as they were almost forgotten. The end of eighteen century and the beginning of the nineteenth had brought a new interest in everything that was related to the Ancient Greek culture. It was a matter of time before someone thinks of renewing the Olympic Games. This will be done thank to a French noble Baron Pierre De Coubertin who regarded the Olympic as a tradition that needs to be back for the benefits of the whole world. He had suggested that the Olympic Games should be held and that the most countries should compete in this renewed Olympic Games. De Coubertin had created the International Olympic Committee in 1894 thus paving the way for the first Modern Olympic Games.
The First Modern Olympic Games were held in Greece in Athens in 1896 and the games were opened by the King of Greece Georgios I. There are 280 competitors from fourteen nations and all of them were males. This was one of the greatest events of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century the Olympic Games got more massive and the perfect example of this were the 1912 games that were held in Stockholm, Sweden. These games were the first where electric measurement equipment was used alongside with the PA system. There were 25000 athletes from 25 different countries. There were some problems due to the WW1 as the Games should have been held in Berlin.
The most famous Games before the war were held in Berlin in 1936. They were the first televised games and are also known when Adolf Hitler then the chancellor of Germany had refused to shake hands with Jesse Owen. Many countries boycotted the games due to the policy of the then ruling German party. Next Olympic Games which should have been held in Tokyo were cancel due to the WW2. First Games after the war were held in London were held in 1948 and had sparked the new interest for the games. Two countries that had started the war were not invited to the Games due to their previous actions.
In the next few decades the games were characterized by the competition between the East and the West, i.e. between the USA and the USSR and the capitalism and the communism. There were two games which reflected this were the games held in Moscow in 1980 that were boycotted by the US thus the USSR had the most golden medal. Same thing but the other way around happened at the Olympic Games in the LA in 198 thus the US won the most medals there. The Games held in Atlanta in 1996 were first Olympic Games that were supported by corporations and private entrepreneurships. 2008 Olympic Games which were held in Beijing are known for the fact that 86 countries had won the medal.
In 2012 London had become a city that hosted the Olympic Games for 5 times while the last game in Rio were the first for some nations, even though there were a few scandals since their beginning. We hope that you had enjoyed in this brief history of the Olympic Games.