The Olympic Games originated long ago in ancient Greece

Topics: Olympic Games, Ancient Olympic Games, Greece Pages: 2 (517 words) Published: April 21, 2015
The Olympic Games originated long ago in ancient Greece. Exactly when the Games were first held and what circumstances led to their creation is uncertain. We do know, however, that the Games were a direct outgrowth of the values and beliefs of Greek society. The Greeks idealized physical fitness and mental discipline, and they believed that excellence in those areas honored Zeus, the greatest of all their gods. For the first 13 Olympic Games, the only event was the one-stade run. But over the years, new sports were added to the Games. The hoplitodrome, for instance, was a footrace the athletes ran wearing full armor. The pentathlon, in which the athletes competed in five events (jumping, javelin, sprint, discus, and wrestling), was added to the Games in 708 B.C. The pancration was introduced in 648 B.C. This brutal sport had no rules and combined boxing and wrestling. A winner was named only when one man raised his hand in defeat or lay unconscious on the ground. Athletic competition became so important to the Greeks that the Olympic festivals were a peaceful influence on the warlike city-states. Sparta was famous for the strict military training of its citizens. But it would wait until the Games were over before sending fighters into battle. Other cities followed this example. The first written records of the ancient Olympic Games date to 776 B.C., when a cook named Coroebus won the only event–a 192-meter footrace called the stade (the origin of the modern “stadium”)–to become the first Olympic champion. However, it is generally believed that the Games had been going on for many years by that time. Legend has it that Heracles (the Roman Hercules), son of Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene, founded the Games, which by the end of the 6th century B.C had become the most famous of all Greek sporting festivals. The ancient Olympics were held every four years between August 6 and September 19 during a religious festival honoring Zeus. The Games were named for their...
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