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The History of the Olympics

February 05, 2014

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The Olympics are so much FUN!!! New events every four years, world records broken, and miracle athletes overcoming huge obstacles... it's amazing to see how far the Olympics will take these athletes to new levels. But have you ever wondered how it all began? To understand how far athletes can go forwards, let's rewind and see how far the athletes have come. Let's look at the History of the Olympics.

Hercules

Monster MashMonster MashCourtesy of washingwithoutgettingwet-georg.blogspot.ca
 

According to legend, the ancient Olympic Games were brought to life by Heracles, son of Zeus. Events back then were a little bit different:

  • Dragon Slaying
  • Castle Climbing
  • Stealing Livestock
  • Axe throwing (at each other)
  • Monster Mashup

Nude Dude

CoroebusCoroebusCourtesy of indiansportsfan.com
 

The first Olympic Games for which we still have written records were held in 776 BC. At this Olympic Games, a naked runner, Coroebus (a cook from Elis), won the sole event at the Olympics, the stade - a run of approximately 192 meters (210 yards). This made Coroebus the very first Olympic champion in history. 

The ancient Olympic Games grew and continued to be played every four years for nearly 1200 years. In 393, the Roman emperor Theodosius I, abolished the Games because of religious differences. What a bummer dude! 

Pierre's Olympic Push

Approximately 1500 years later, a young Frenchmen named Pierre de Coubertin began their revival. Pierre is now known as le Rénovateur. After examining the education of the German, British, and American children, Pierre decided that it was  sports that made a well-rounded and vigorous person. Here is a record of one of Pierre's declarations for the Modern Olympics.

Pierre de CoubertinPierre de CoubertinCourtesy of jaardag.wordpress.com
 

Let us export our oarsmen, our runners, our fencers into other lands. That is the true Free Trade of the future; and the day it is introduced into Europe the cause of Peace will have received a new and strong ally. It inspires me to touch upon another step I now propose and in it I shall ask that the help you have given me hitherto you will extend again, so that together we may attempt to realise [sic], upon a basis suitable to the conditions of our modern life, the splendid and beneficent task of reviving the Olympic Games.

After many times to inspire the leaders of other countries, Pierre finally revived the Olympics. They formed a committee called the International Olympic Committee and Demetrious Vikelas was choosen to lead the first modern Olympics in Greece, his home country.

Modern Olympics

1896 Olympics1896 OlympicsCourtesy of Wikipedia
 

In 1896, the Modern Olympics ignited the Olympic Torch which has now been burning for over 115 years. At these Games, only 14 Nations attended and the events included:

  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Cycling
  • Shooting
  • Weight Lifting
  • Fencing
  • Gymnastics
  • Wrestling
  • Track & Field

Over the last 116 years, the Olympics have evolved into 302 events in 26 sports and 204 countries that participate.

The 2014 Winter Olympics are taking place in Sochi Russia starting Friday February 7th!