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Olympic Games

Olympic rings represent the five inhabited continents.Olympic rings represent the five inhabited continents. The Olympic Games is an international sports festival. There are summer and winter Olympics, each held at four-yearly intervals, staggered two years apart. The Games' beginnings were in ancient Greece, but the modern event dates from 1896. It is organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which also decides to add or remove sports and chooses the cities to host future events. Both summer and winter Olympics programmes include 35 different sports. Linked events are the Paralympics, for athletes with disabilities, and a mini Olympics, called the Youth Games. The Olympic motto is “Faster, higher, stronger”.

Greek athletes practising Greek athletes practising

Ancient Games

The original Olympic Games was the most famous of a number of ancient Greek sporting and religious festivals. It was held near the sacred area of Olympia every four years, with the earliest record of it from 776 BC. At this time Greece was made up of several warring city-states, who declared a truce for the duration of the Games, and sent their best athletes to compete. To begin with, the only event was a 192-metre (630-feet) race for up to 21 runners. Later Games included fight contests and chariot racing as well as early versions of modern track and field events. The Olympics were stopped in around AD 400 by the Romans, recent converts to Christianity, for whom the Games were too closely linked with pagan activities. 

The most dangerous event at the ancient Olympics was Pankration, a violent fight in which you had to kill your opponent to win.

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