The Olympic Games. By Jetrin Anderson. History of the Olympics.
By Jetrin Anderson
The Olympic games began in 776 B.C, in Ancient Greece. The Olympics slowly became more important in Ancient Greece from then on. It was most popular during the 5th and 6th centuries BC. The Olympics lost most of it’s importance when Greece was conquered by the Romans and Christianity was declared as the main religion. The Olympics, being seen as a pagan celebration, was banned by the Roman Emperor in 393 AD. The Olympics were revived by Frenchman Baron Pierre De Coubertin in the 19th Century. The Summer Olympics have been held every 4 years since 1896, and the Winter Olympics (consisting of winter sports) began in 1924.
The Olympics games were originally held to honor the 12 Olympian Gods. The events had a lot of religious significance and borrowed most of its ideas from Greek mythology.
Only young men were allowed to compete, and usually competed naked. This is because the Olympics were meant to be, in part, a celebration of the human body. In some events, competitors would coat themselves in oil to keep their skin smooth and give off an appealing shine.
It was also a union for Greece. Athletes from all over the world came to compete in the Olympics, hoping to go back home as heroes. Winning the Olympics held great prestige and glory, as well as the satisfaction of wearing the olive wreath, the prize for the winner. Champions were immortalized in statues and poems.
Originally, the Olympics were a religious event, held on the Plains of Olympia near the temples of Zeus and Hera to honor the 12 Greek Gods. Events were based off of ancient Greek Mythology.
The Olympics were also a festival, unifying the faraway Greek states in sport. It was a social and political meeting place. Competitors came from all over Greece to win and return to their states rich and as champions.
Now, the Olympics are a way for the best athletes in the world to compete against each other for their country.
Hosting the Olympic games can have a big economical and social impact on a country.
The most significant impact is financial. A lot of profit is made from large companies sponsoring the event and the increased tourism from people coming from all over the world to watch.
Hosting a major sports event also improves the status of a country by showing how the government can organize a huge event.
It also gives the government a good reason to improve the infrastructure of the country (transportation systems, stadiums, housing and hotel) to accommodate the huge number of tourists staying temporarily.
The Olympics give countries (especially the host nation) a competitive reason to improve their athletes. This is done by developing coaching systems internationally, raising the level of competitions and producing better athletes.
Although the Olympics are a good opportunity for the hosting country to improve itself, the government also takes a big risk in trying to organize it.
Upfront, the cost for the Olympics is huge. The government must pay huge amounts of money to get the city prepared for the huge amount of tourists. This includes improving transportation links, extending stadiums, building new stadiums and housing. Cities become overcrowded, creating traffic and pollution problems, and sometimes the local people are forced to move away for bigger structures to be built.
If the event fails , the government faces a huge financial loss.
There are also safety concerns. With so many people moving in and out of the country, it is harder for airport security to keep track of everything, making terrorism a bigger threat. Scandals and controversies can easily overshadow the event itself.
British 400m runner Derek Remond won the first round and quarterfinals of the Olympics easily, but in the semifinal his right hamstring tore.
In terrible pain but determined to finish the race, he stood up and began to slowly walk down the track. His father Jim Redmond pushed past security to help his son cross the line, to the standing ovation of 65,000 spectators.
After winning the gold medal for boxing in the light heavyweight division in the 1960 Rome Olympics, Muhammad Ali would only wear it for 2 days. After a “whites-only” restaurant refused him service, he threw his medal into the Ohio river.
He would light the Olympic torch in the 1996 and be given a replacement gold medal by the USA basketball team
In a time when Nazi Germany were trying to enforce Aryan superiority and African Americans were racially discriminated, Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals (4x100m relay, long jump, 100m, 200m)
At only 14 years old, Nadia Comaneci, a Romanian gymnast would be the first to score a prefect 10 on the uneven bars. She would later earn 6 more 10’s, getting 3 golds in total.
After a disappointing home Olympics, Cathy Freeman, the first Aboriginal athlete in the Olympics, represented Australia in the 400m race. She won the gold and took a victory lap with the Australian and Aboriginal flags.