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The Olympics: An Historical Overview

The Olympics have come to us down through the ages as an example of the purity and beauty of athletics. The Olympic ideal is something that we hear touted in the media and that many young athletes dream about as they embark on their athletic careers. In studying the history of the Olympics, there is no denying that there are many differences between the ancient Greek games and the modern Olympics. In ancient Greece, for example, religion was a central component of the Olympic Games. This is not true for the modern games. What is truly striking, however, are how striking the similarities between the ancient and modern Olympics are. For example, many of the critics of the Olympic movement point to the fame and fortune accrued by successful athletes as a corruption of the Olympic ideal, and yet successful athletes were revered by the ancient Greeks and could amass great fortunes as a result of their successes. This paper will focus on these similarities between the ancient and modern Olympics. First, we will examine the origins of the Olympics deep in the shadows of antiquity, and then we will briefly explore the history of the modern games. Last, we will compare the two and show that their similarities far outweigh their differences.

The Olympics were originally part of a religious festival held in honor of Zeus, the father of all the Greek gods and goddesses. The festival and the games that were part of them were held in Olympia, which was a rural sanctuary site named after Mount Olympus├╣the highest mountain in Greece, and the mythological home of the Greek gods and goddesses. All of the Greeks who participated in the Olympics held at the Sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia held the same religious beliefs and spoke the same language (UPENN). "The ancient Olympic Games began in the year 776 BC, when Koroibos, a cook from the nearby city of Elis, won the stadion race, a foot race 600 feet long" (UPENN). Women, however, were not...

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The Olympics: An Historical Overview. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:45, May 24, 2020, from