History of the Olympics
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History of the Olympics

History of the Olympics

History of the Olympics

      Around 776 BC or 2,800 or more years ago; athletes of ancient Greece started to meet about every four years at Olympia to participate in competitive sports. “The Greeks believed development of the body was equally important as the mind”. (Unm.edu, The history of Fitness). It was Greece that first took the leadership of establishing formative sports and scientific study. As we learn from world history it was Hippocrates a native from Greece and the father of modern medicine that first started to study the mind and body connection.  Aspiring young men, soldiers of battle, philosophers, and statesmen would often meet to learn more about current events, social issues and have dialogue on fitness prowess along with other competitive teachings. The word competition also means to strive together (origin: 1595-1605) competit (us) past participle of competere to meet; come together for contest of something. (Dictionary.com, Competition). So, competition is actually healthy for each opponent strives by competing together and in the process develops better skills while each grows individually in higher performance. The winning party serves as a role model and inspiration to the general populace; often motivating others to achieve and excel at their preferred trade, craft or sport. Almost everyone could improve their performance via discipline, new learning and dedication as done in the Olympic Games by our fascinating athletes. 

The first Olympic Games events consisted of a sprint race called the Stade and later other events were added such as boxing, javelin throw, chariot race, discuss throwing and Pankration which was a combination of boxing and wrestling until each was refined and separated in later years. (The World of the Olympics, 2011). Olympic Boxing is very different than professional boxing for it has different requirements, rules and structure;however it is just as popular and exciting in audience views. (About.com, Olympic Boxing). 

      The modern Olympic period began around the year 1890 with the help of Baron de Coubertin (1863-1937), who had the idea of bringing forward the competition of Olympic sports and this time included about 14 countries competing and celebrating once again in Greece but at Athens, year 1896. The Athens Olympics had 245 men participating and no women with the US excelling even during these early days. Spiridon Louis of Greece won the marathon with the name stemming from a small town named Marathon in Greece and hence the name used today to describe competitive running. “The modern Athens Marathon commemorates the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield at the site of the town of MarathonGreece, to Athens in 490 B.C.” (Athensmarathon.com, Marathon History). For more on these interesting historical facts please visit the references listed below.

  Later on the Olympic Games started to be held in a different city every four years and the new host city of Paris in year 1900 was the first Olympics were women started to compete. Today the Olympic Games have a bit less than half total of female athletic competitors. “Britain’s Charlotte Cooper was the first Olympic women’s champion when she won the tennis singles in Paris. Athlete’s clothing has changed a lot since 1900”. (Nick Hunter, The World of Olympics). See image below on the left. Tennis was one of the original nine Olympic sports of the modern era. (Go To Tennis.com, 2008). 

Charlotte Cooper First Female Olympic Champion The tie is not so surprising in view that not too long ago again in the 1990’s it made a comeback in the world of fashion but this time in white pearls and often given to women as a gift after a major professional accomplishment or special achievement. The history of the Olympics’ sure is fascinating. The Olympic flag symbolizes respect for every nation and the rings represent the five continents with at least one of the colors part a nation’s color’s flag represented. Over the years many countries have contributed to the greatness that is the Olympics. The United States Olympic committee today is running three major Olympic training centers that include Lake Placid New York, Chula Vista California, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. This allows for diverse training terrain, weather conditions, and access for travel from different destinations hubs. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is in charge of the Olympic Games and based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC works with National Olympic Committees from each participating country and those in charge of each unique sport and area. Together all these organizations and stakeholders make up the Olympic Movement. The Paralympics Games originated later from a sporting event held in the United Kingdom (UK) during its second hosted Olympic event in 1948. It was for soldiers injured during World War II and later the first official Paralympics for disabled athletes was held in Rome in the year 1960. During the year 2004 and not too different from the very first athletic events held at Olympia; Russia’s Natalia Goudkova throw of the javelin (a favorite skill held from origin by the Greeks) won her a silver medal.  The Olympics continue to be as exciting today as it was yesterday. The next event will be held in the year 2012 in the city of London.  The website of the London 2012 Games includes details of the various venues and game preparations for more information click here, London2012 


About.com. (2011). Olympic Boxing. Retrieved from  


Athens Marathon.com. Marathon History. Retrieved from


Info-Please. (2011) Olympic Training facilities.

     Retrieved from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/olympic-training-facilities.html

Go To Tennis.com. (2008). Olympic Tennis 2008: Facts and Trivia.

     Retrieved from http://gototennis.com/2008/08/10/olympic-tennis-2008-facts-and-


Nick Hunter, (2011). The World of Olympics. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library

Unm.edu, (Lance Dalleck M.S., Kravitz PhD). The History of Fitness, Retrieved from



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