The Olympic Games began over 2,700 years ago (in 776 b.c.) in Olympia, in southwest Greece. The Games were part of a religious festival, were held in honour of Zeus, king of the gods, and were staged every four years at Olympia. People from all over the Greek world came to watch and take part.
Visitors to Olympia stared in wonder as they entered the great Temple of Zeus. Inside was a huge statue of the king of the gods, sitting on a throne. People called it one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The statue was covered in gold and ivory, and was six times bigger than a man.
During the ancient games, only young men were able to participate. Men had to play in the nude or with very little clothing (“gymnos”) Running was the only event at the first Games.
Gradually more events were added to make four days of competition. They include: •Wrestling •Boxing •Long jump •Throwing the javelinIn the pentathlon, there were five •Throwing discusevents: running, wrestling, javelin, •Chariot racingdiscus and long jump.
In Greece, there was no Second Place. Only winners were honored, the losers were ignored. Winners were given a laurel wreath for their head and a pot containing olive oil.
About 50,000 people couldsit in the stadium.Married women were notallowed into the OlympicGames.It was hot, overcrowdedand the water supply was The Games ended with apoor. feast. Lots of oxen were roasted in a giant barbecue.
Only male athletes were allowed to participate. Unmarried women had their own festival at Olympia every four years. This was the Heraia, held in honour of Hera, wife of Zeus. Women could compete in running races.
Ended in 394 AD by the Roman Emperor Theodosius, who was a Christian. He considered them “pagan” games
Revived in 1896 and first hosted in Athens, Greece. In the modern Olympics male and female athletes compete in the same stadium at the same time but not against each other. Winners receive a medal if they come first, second or third. These medals are gold, silver or bronze.
The Olympic Rings are five interlocking rings that stand for the five original continents, (Africa, America, Asia, Australia, and Europe) The colours of the rings and the athletes from are blue, yellow, black, around the world. green, and red respectively. They were chosen because at least one of these colours is found on the flag of every nation.
On the Olympic flag, the ringsappear on a white background.At the Olympic Games, the flagis brought into the stadiumduring the opening ceremony.After its arrival, the flag ishoisted up the flagpole.It must fly in the stadiumduring the whole of the Games.When the flag is lowered at theclosing ceremony, it signals theend of the Games.
The motto of the Olympic Games is Faster, Higher, Stronger. These three words Stronger encourage the athlete to give his or her best during competition, and to view this effort as a victory in itself. To better understand the motto, we can compare it with the following well-known phrase : The most important thing is not to win but to take part !
The lighting In memory of the Olympic Games’ origins, the flame is lit in Olympia, Greece, some months before the opening of the Games. The Olympic flame can only be lit by the sun’s rays.The relay routeThe torch is carried by relay from Olympia to the host city ofthe Games.
Arrival at the stadium The day of the opening of the Games, the flame enters the stadium. With the lighting of the cauldron by the last relay runner the flame is transferred from the torch to the place where it will continue to burn for the entire length of the Games. The flame is extinguished on the final day of the Games at the closing ceremony
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be held in London from 27 July to 12 August 2012. We expect 205 nations to take part in 300 events at the Olympic Games in 2012. London has hosted the Olympic games in 1908 and 1948.