Thousands of years in the making what began as a part of a religious festival in the honor of the almighty Greek god Zeus in the rural Greek town of Olympia is today known as the world’s greatest show of sporting excellence.
The inception date in 776 BC.
It also became the basis for the Greek’s earliest calendar, the year Alfa, Beta, Gama, and Delta. Where time was marked in four-year increment called Olympiads.
What could it be? Yeah, it’s also mentioned in the Title of the post.
Yes, it’s the Olympic Games. No awards for Guessing it right.
“Competition fosters excellence”
Or so thought the Ancient Greeks.
In addition to sporting events, contests were held for music, singing, and poetry.
How do I know? You can read about them all yourself in the classical literary work’s, like Homer’s “Iliad” and Virgil’s “Aeneid”, or just take my word and have your self-reading a combined 1400 pages of classic English literature.
Well when the games started, the total number of events featured just a single event, The two-hundred-yard dash.
At least for the first thirteen games. But with time new and more exciting events were added like Boxing, Chariot, and Mule racing and even a footrace where the competitors wore a full suit of armor which attracted many hopeful champions into the Stadium, every four years.
Or ever year if you believe in the old ways.
The combined running, jumping, wrestling, javelin throwing and hurling the discus events. Yes, you guessed it right the Pentathlon inspired world class competition. Oh, I almost forgot about the Pankration, well it actually means “all force”. A no holds barred fight, were only biting and eye gouging were prohibited, ensuring that the toughest men always prevails.
Do you know about a baker called Coroebus. It is said that there was not a champion bigger than him. He became the very first Olympic Champion. And let’s never forget Orsippus of Megara. The 720 BC Olympic victor tore away his loincloth so he could race unimpeded, well that started the ancient Greek tradition of competing in the nude.
But all good things must come to an end.
Yes, I am talking about the Olympics.
But India performed terribly in the last Olympics last year you may ask?
Well, in 391 AD, the Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius banned all pagan practices, including the Games.
And that’s how the world said Bye to the Olympics games. But just like those early days Pankration athletes, you just keep a good one down, and 1500 years later in 1896, the modern Olympic games kicked off in Athens, Greece.
Today the summer and winter Olympics brings international world class athletes together by the thousands and spectators worldwide in billions for the world’s foremost sporting competition.
Citius, Altius, Fortius (Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger”)
Three cheers for the Olympics