History of Olympic Games

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Introduction to Blog

The history of the Olympic games begins with the ancient Greek Olympiad, a series of athletic contests held at various sanctuaries throughout Greece. Competitions were open only to male citizens between 18-35 years old who had been awarded citizenship by their city state. Athletes competed in a wide variety of events including running, jumping, throwing, wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, discus, javelin, pentathlon, long jump, sprinting, swimming, equestrianism, gymnastics, pankration (full contact fighting), ball games, archery, and fencing.

In 776 BC the Isthmian Olympics were created in Corinth and began to have some permanence. Around 500 athletes participated in the first modern Olympics in Athens where they would compete in 14 events. From here the Ancient Olympics grew into a worldwide event with cities hosting local versions for their own entertainment.

By 464 AD the Olympic festival was officially transferred to Rome. In the following centuries the Roman Empire became the dominant force in sports. These athletes eventually spread around the world under the name of the Olympic Games. By the end of the 19th century, the games were hosted exclusively by France and Switzerland. Since then, the modern rules of the sport were developed, and now the games has become an institution for international competition and cultural exchange.

What's the history of the Olympics?

The modern Olympic Games were born at the first international athletics meeting in Athens Greece in 1896. A year after their start, they became part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Who founded the Olympic Games?

From the beginning, the founder of the modern Olympic Games was Baron Pierre de Coubertin. He saw the need to bring together amateur athletes around the world, and he wanted to create something unique and different than what already existed. In 1894, he started the "International Athletic Commission", which later changed its name to the IOC.

When did the modern Olympic Games begin?

On May 23, 1896 in Athens, Greece, the first modern Olympic Games began. Since then, the host city has been decided by drawing lots.

How much does each country get paid for hosting the Olympics?

Each participating nation gets between $100-200 million dollars for hosting the games. The money comes from sponsorships, ticket sales, TV rights, and merchandise sales.

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1. Greek Olympics

 The origin of the modern day games dates back to Ancient Greece. The first recorded games were held in 776 BC at Olympia and consisted of only a foot race. These games were then held annually until 393 AD when they were banned due to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. In 1894, Athens hosted their first modern Olympic Games and since then have been staged every two years except for 1916-1918, 1940-1944, 1944-1948, 1948-1952, 1956-1960, 1964-1968, 1980-1984, 1988-1992, 1996-2000, 2004-2008, 2012-2016, 2020.

2. Roman Olympics

Roman athletes competed in different events, including boxing, wrestling, archery, running, jumping, throwing, and even pankration (a type of martial arts). Unlike the modern day games, there was no event for women in the Roman Olympics. There were several different types of competitions where men participated in. The most popular was probably boxing, followed by wrestling. Women could participate in these events but it wasn’t considered a sport; rather they would compete in gymnastics or athletics, depending on whether they were competing in a walking race or not.

3. Modern Olympics

Modern day sports competition began in 1896 with the Summer Olympic games in Athens. Since then, each year the host city selects a specific theme to base the games around. Usually these themes revolve around the history of the site and its surroundings. London was the host city from 1948-2012 and decided to focus on the legacy of Ancient Rome in the area surrounding the stadium. Other locations have included Berlin in 1936, Helsinki in 1952, Melbourne in 1956, Montreal in 1976, Seoul in 1988, Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000, Salt Lake City in 2002, Athens in 2004, Vancouver in 2010, and Sochi in 2014.

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(A) Modern Olympics-1908

 In 1908, the modern Olympic Games began. There were no medals awarded at that time. Athletes competed for the highest score based on their place in the standings of each event. The first modern Olympics included five sports: athletics, boxing, fencing, gymnastics, and wrestling. At the original Olympics, women athletes participated for the first time in the pentathlon, a contest consisting of running, archery, horseback riding, javelin throwing, and discus throwing. Women's participation increased steadily until 1928, when they were allowed to compete in all sports at the Olympic Games.

(B) Modern Olympics-1920

In 1920, the number of events grew to 18 and track and field became the dominant sport at the games. In 1924, basketball was introduced as an official Olympic sport. In 1928, swimming was added as a sport; however, the race distances were much shorter than those in today's games. Until 1936, only men were allowed to participate in the Olympics. That year, women's track and field was added, and a women's decathlon was created.

(C) Modern Olympics-1960

At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, 22 nations took part in the Games. Track and field returned as the top sport after dominating the previous two Olympics; however, since the introduction of modern pentathlon, boxing, equestrian, modern pentathlon, judo, softball, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting, and wrestling (introduced in 1904) were played.

(D) Modern Olympics-1968

At the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France, the United States won its first gold medal ever. Bob Beamon set a world record in long jump with a distance of 8.81 meters (28 feet, 0 inches). Sixteen countries participated in the Olympics for the first time; South Africa was the last nation not to attend.

(E) Modern Olympics-1976

At the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal, Canada, the United States dominated the competition again, winning 11 gold medals and 23 total medals. A silver medal was given out for the first time in track and field, and both the women's and men's basketball finals were held simultaneously. The games were broadcast around the globe for the first time.

(F) Modern Olympics-1984

At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, the United States won 17 gold medals, tying the Soviet Union for most gold medals won at one games. Host country Los Angeles, California received the greatest amount of tourism dollars from visitors. Many cities in the United States experienced a building boom following the success of the games.

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When Olympic Games are held?

The Olympic Games have been held every four years since 1896, except between 1916 and 1920 due to World War I.

Ancient History of Olympic Games

In ancient Greece, athletes competed in what were known as the Olympics, a series of athletic games held at different locations each year. These games became more organized in 648 BC, when King Damocles invited Greek statesmen and warriors to Olympia to compete in events like wrestling, boxing, foot racing, discus throwing, javelin throwing, long jumping, running, and pentathlon. The word “olympic” comes from the Greek words olympia (Olympian) and game (game).

Athens was selected as the location for the first modern Olympic Games in 1894. The first competition took place in Athens, Greece, on 29th August 1896 at the Panathenaic Stadium. There were 21 sports competitions in total, including equestrianism, weightlifting, fencing, shooting, tennis, tug of war, archery, rowing, swimming, diving, athletics, gymnastics, badminton, cycling, soccer, basketball, hockey, softball, baseball, volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics, and boxing. The host city won 9 gold medals, 10 silver, and 4 bronze.

In 1906, St Louis hosted the second modern Olympic Games. In addition to being the site of the 1904 World’s Fair, the city was chosen to play host for two reasons: firstly, it had already hosted the 1904 Summer Olympic Games and secondly, they wanted to prove that their city could build a stadium big enough to hold major sporting events.

However, the 1908 Summer Olympic Games did not take place. The outbreak of the First World War meant that many international organizations decided to suspend the Games until after the war. In 1919, the third Olympic Games were held in Antwerp, Belgium. More than 5000 athletes participated in 23 disciplines. By 1924, however, only 22 countries sent representatives to the Paris Games.

During 1928, Los Angeles was selected to host the fourth Olympiad, becoming the first American city to host the Games. The 1932 games were cancelled due to the Great Depression. After the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Germany banned Jews from participating.

After the Second World War, the United Nations General Assembly voted to hold the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. At that time, the city was still recovering from the devastating bombing of the previous year. To commemorate the British Empire's victory over Nazi Germany in the Battle of Britain, the Olympic cauldron was lit at midnight on VE Day (Victory in Europe Day).

Modern History of Olympic Games

The 1952 Winter Olympics were held in Oslo, Norway. The 1956 Games were originally scheduled to be held in Melbourne, Australia. However, they were moved back to Helsinki, Finland, after a dispute between Australian officials and the International Olympic Committee. The 1960 Summer Olympics were held in Rome, Italy. Due to the Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the US, 20 African nations boycotted the closing ceremony.

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics marked the first time that the Summer Games were held in Asia. More than 33 million visitors attended the festivities. The 1968 Mexico City Olympics were marred by political turmoil, culminating in the assassination of Mexican presidential candidate Salvador Guevara on October 14th.

For the 1972 Munich Olympics, a terrorist named Eric Rudolph set off bombs before walking away without harming anyone. It wasn't until 1995 that he was arrested and charged with several bombings and murders. He was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympics was held at the same time as the infamous O.J. Simpson trial. Despite all of the negative attention, more than 30 million people attended the event. The 2000 Sydney Olympics were held amid fears about terrorist attacks. The Games ended peacefully after the September 11th attacks in 2001, but the aftermath led to security concerns and a drop in attendance.

The 2004 Athens Olympics saw the largest security operation ever seen in any Olympic Games. More than 400,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed around the country to ensure safety and security for the 40,000 athletes who attended the event. A bomb blast near the finish line killed 17-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos, a Greek teenager who was competing in the 200 meters.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics were held during China's worst natural disaster. Heavy rains caused landslides and massive flooding across numerous provinces. Flood waters damaged hundreds of buildings, killing 13 Chinese citizens. The 2010 Vancouver Olympics came just weeks after Canada was hit by a deadly earthquake and tsunami along its Pacific coast.

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