Since the 2010 Olympic Games ended, I’ve found that my interest in going to Canada has been revived by all the beautiful backdrops in the pictures. I’ve been looking up various things such as the top 10 things to do in Canada now that the Olympics are over , and as a result my research naturally triggered me to take an interest in the history of the Olympics.
I knew (probably from elementary school) that the Olympic Games started in ancient times, but I didn’t know how ancient — apparently the first recorded Olympics were in 776 BCE. That’s amazing! We even know the name of the first guy ever recorded to have won anything — a foot race, in this case, and his name was Coroebus.
What is even more amazing to me is that the Games continued to be held every four years for more than 1,000 years. That’s a long time in the ancient world, when you figure that they didn’t have radio, TV, or mass media — only fairly rudimentary means of record keeping.
Interestingly, it was Christianity that brought about the end of the ancient Olympic Games, in a manner of speaking. They were ended in 393 CE because the current Roman Emperor, who was a Christian, objected to the pagan roots of the Games. (The games were supposedly created by Hercules , or Heracles as he was known by the Greeks.) It wasn’t until the late 19th century that there was serious talk about reinstating them, and even then it took time and serious dedication on the part of a Frenchman by the name of Pierre de Coubertin.
What’s really funny is what may have inspired him to get the Olympic games going again: the defeat of his country’s military forces in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Whether or not France losing the war had anything to do with his opinions (Coubertin would have been only 7 years old), he definitely thought that physical exercise was needed as part of a complete education.
But anyway, I think it’s worth remembering, when the Olympics come round every couple of years, how old the tradition really is. Just think, if it weren’t for Coubertin, we might not have ever revived the Games!
May 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm Comments (0)