Astounding Facts About The First Olympic Games | Kidadl


Astounding Facts About The First Olympic Games

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Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The first Olympic Games occurred about three thousand years ago in 776 BC.

The Olympic Games are rooted in ancient Greek mythology. Many of the games were attributed to ancient Greek Gods.

According to ancient Greek culture, the origin of the ancient Olympic Games can be understood with the story about Heracles and his brothers racing each other in Olympia to entertain Zeus, who was a newborn at that time. Zeus crowned the victor with an olive wreath and this continued in ancient Greek society.

Another story about the origin of the ancient Olympic Games is that it was conducted as a thanksgiving by Pelops to celebrate his victory and honor King Oenomaus. It is said that chariot races inspired the beginning of the ancient Olympic Games. There are countless other stories rooted in ancient Greek culture on the origin of the ancient Olympics. These stories and myths have their roots in ancient Greek religion and the worship of Greek Gods. The ancient Olympic Games were intended to bring harmony and peace and a revival of Greek life.

The First Olympic Games

Ancient Olympics were a pivotal part of Greek culture and gave a perspective into the life of ancient Greeks. The name Olympics was given to these games since they were conducted on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. Ancient Greek Olympics were conducted here since they believed that their Gods lived on Mount Olympus.

The first modern Olympic Games were the Athens Games held from April 6-15, 1896, in Athens. Approximately 280 athletes from 12 countries participated in the inaugural games of the modern Olympic Games. All of the athletes who participated in the first modern Olympics were men. It is said that a crowd of around 60,000 people attended the opening ceremony of the modern games.

Members of the royal family played a key role in the management and organization of the first modern Olympics. Most of the athletes who participated in these games were well-off college students or athletic club members. The only country to send a national team for the first modern Olympics was Hungary. The first Olympic games were officially inaugurated by King George I of Greece.

The first Olympics was held in the Panathenaic Stadium, which was restored for these games with the financial help of Georgios Averoff, a wealthy Greek Egyptian. The Bay of Zea was where the swimming events were conducted. The ancient Greek tracks had sharp turns, which required runners to slow down to stay in their lane. The first marathon was conducted during the 1896 Olympics and was conceived by Michel Briel.

The first Olympic champion was James Connolly, an American. The most successful player of the 1896 Athens Games was Carl Schuhmann, a German. The USA was the most successful country in terms of the number of medals during the first Olympics. The first-place winners of the games were given an olive branch, a silver medal, and a diploma. The second-place winners were given a laurel branch, a copper medal, and a diploma.

History Of The Olympic Games

The official languages of the Olympic Games are mainly English and French, along with the official language of the host country. The Olympic flame and the fire used in the torch relay are supposed to burn during the whole event and can only be lit again with a flame that has been lit in Greece.

The Olympic rings are made up of five interlocked rings of black, yellow, red, green, and blue. These colors were chosen since each of the countries taking part in the Olympics had at least one of these colors on their flags. This Olympic flag was designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who is also regarded as the father of modern Olympics. Pierre de Coubertin is credited with the advent of the modern Olympics.

The Olympic torch has no historical origin, contrary to the popularly held belief. It was an idea born in the mind of Carl Diem, a sports theorist and university lecturer. The Olympic flame was designed to withstand all weather conditions. The only time that live animals were killed during the Olympic games was in the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris in a pigeon shooting event. Another special thing about the 1900 Olympic Games was that it was the first time that women could participate in the Olympics.

The 1900 Summer Games were the only Olympics in which the medals were rectangular. The rectangular medals were designed by Frederick Vernon. The 1912 Stockholm Olympics was the last time in the history of the Olympics that a medal completely made out of gold was presented to a champion. Since then, the gold medal given to champions has been made up of 92.5% silver and six grams of gold plating. All of the medals awarded during the Olympics are designed by the host country.

The only Olympic stadium that conducted two summer Olympics is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The first time was in 1932, and the second was in 1984. This stadium is set to create history again when it hosts the games for the third time in 2028.

Different Events In The First Olympics

The Olympic Games are considered one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The hosting of the Olympic Games is always held in high regard and is considered a great honor.

The only event in the initial Olympic Games was the foot race. Since then, many more sporting events have been added to the roster and some were even removed during the course of its history. The 1896 Summer Olympics consisted of nine sports over 43 events and 10 disciplines. The events of the first Olympics were as follows: athletics, fencing, cycling, tennis, gymnastics, weightlifting, shooting, wrestling, swimming, and road and track events.

Football, rowing, and yachting were also planned to be a part of the first games, but these events never made it to the final list. The first figure skating competition was held during the 1908 Summer Olympics, and the first instance of horse races in the Olympics happened during the 1900 Summer Games. Ice Hockey is a sporting event in the Winter Olympics and was first included in 1920.

The 2020 Tokyo Games was the first in history to make medals out of recycled materials.

Ancient Olympics

Ancient Greece is credited with the beginning of the ancient Olympics. The men in ancient Greece who started the ancient games attached a lot of religious significance to the ancient Olympics. Since then, the Olympics have been hosted by different countries. The USA has hosted the most number of Olympic Games followed by France.

The ancient Greek Olympics were so important to Greek men and their culture that an Olympic truce was called during this time for a month so that the athletes could train themselves for the upcoming games. It was celebrated by Greek men like a religious festival. A huge number of oxen were killed during the games as a sacrifice to honor Zeus, a Greek God. A small portion was burned for God and the rest of the meat was eaten by people during a grand banquet. The ancient Olympics were conducted for more than a thousand years but ended in 393 AD when Theodosius, a Roman emperor, banned them.

In ancient Greek Olympics, there were no female athletes or a torch relay. The events usually became brutal during these times. Initially, the games were held for a day, which was later extended to five days. A total of 18 events were scheduled over the five days. The earlier games consisted of running events, pentathlon, wrestling, chariot racing, and boxing. The ancient pentathlon included five different events, as its name suggests, which were long jump, javelin, discus, wrestling, and running.

Pankration was considered to be the most brutal sport of ancient Olympics. This event was a combination of boxing and wrestling, where strangling and neck holds were also permitted. Death was a common occurrence during this event. The rules during the ancient games were very strict and often brutal. The athletes who broke any rules during the games were publicly whipped. In addition to this, athletes could also be slapped with huge financial fines.

As ancient depictions of the Olympics portray, the athletes who participated in the games competed nude. Nudity occupied a key part in Greek culture, and athletes could show off their physiques during the games and the parade. Another different aspect of the ancient Olympic Games was that there were no medals awarded for winning in the games. Instead, the victors were given a wreath of olive leaves from the sacred trees of Olympia. The people who were victorious could erect a statue of themselves in the Altis Grove, which is now considered a UNESCO heritage site.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

<p>With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.</p>

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