The Ancient Olympics, the main races of the Greeks, where celebrated in honor of Zeus at Olympia.
The Ancient Olympic Games – History
While the origin of the Olympic Games is not known with precision, according to tradition, the first the celebration was in 776 BC. According to mythology, Idaios Herakles was the founder, who had be present to the birth of Zeus in the cave of Idis (Idaion Andron). The hero with the same name, Hercules, son of Alcmene had also performed matches in Olympia, when he ended with success the clearance of Augeias stables.
However, main organizers of the Olympic Games in prehistoric and historical times (884 BC) were the King of Elis Ifitos, Lycurgus the legislature of Sparta and the king of Pisis Kleisthenes. From those initially established the Holy Truce which imposed on all Greeks during the games. That order was written on a bronze disk which was hidden in Heroon and special preachers announced it all over Greece.
Thus, the Olympic Games had taken a national celebration character. In another tradition, the Olympic Games were the result of funeral matches on the banks of Alpheos river which took place in honor of king Pelops.As the years passed, participation in the Games had been extended to all Greek states, inside and outside Greece, and visitors of celebration were not only individuals but also official representatives of various states. The Olympic Games were maintained until 393 AD when the the Roman Emperor Theodosius I canceled them, while Greece had lost its independence.
Olympics later added the sports we know today
Initially the program was limited to one day and consisted of only one event – a race across the stage. Later added other olympia sports such as discus throw, javelin, long jump, boxing, wrestling, pentathlon, chariot race, etc., and the duration – including religious ceremonies – was extended to seven days. The participation in the Games originally limited only to the Greeks, coming even from
Greek colonies. Women could not take part in the Games and married could not attend even as spectators, except the priestess of the goddess Demeter.
Before opening the games all competitors and their families, pre-gymnasts and judges, took an official oath that will keep their games clean and fair and they would give a fair judgement. The games took so important position in the life of Greece, that the time measured with the four-year period between the Games and this was an Olympiad. The biggest price for each Greek then was to win the simple branch of wild olive which was given as a prize to the winner of the games. The kings were competing side-by-side with the simple people. Even the Roman Emperor Nero (37-68 AD) sought the Olympic values. The winners were national heroes.
Minimum Human ventures have lasted so long as the Ancient Olympic games did
The use of performance enhancement drugs became another big black mark on the face of Olympics. This practice gained momentum in the early 20th century while the athletes began consuming drugs in order to enhance their athletic capabilities. The only known Olympic death related to substance abuse is that of a Danish cyclist named KE Jenson who had taken Amphetamines prior to a race. The consequence was that, he fell from his bike as well as died.
Though it is unfortunate, Olympics have also seen rampant discrimination on the basis of sex. Until 2010, countries like the Brunei, the Saudi Arabia, as well as Qatar had never sent a female athlete! The International Olympic Committee suggested that such countries which do not promote women athletes should be banned. This pressurized the orthodox countries like Qatar to send in more no of the female athletes to the Olympics.
Australia, France, Great Britain, as well as Switzerland are the only countries to be represented at every Olympic Games since their inception in 1896. The idea of Olympics itself was greatly influential in order to promote International alliances as well as we should strive to preserve its glory.