The history of the Olympic games dates back to around 776 B.C. in Ancient Greece. Prior to its revival in the late 19th century, It was usually held every four years from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th Century A.D., in the Greek city of Olympia in honor of the god called Zeus.
The Olympics started with one event called the “stadion” foot race and the first ever Olympic winner recorded is Coroebus of Elis, a Greek cook and athlete.
The Olympic Games which was more of a religious celebration continued every four years for over twelve centuries, until the year 393 A.D. when the Roman empire took over Greece, the Roman emperor Theodosius viewed it as pagan cults activities and banned it.
However, the games were revived in the 19th century and it has become one of the world’s premier sporting competition.
Greece hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, in the city of Athens which saw 280 participants from nations compete in 43 events including: swimming, gymnastics, cycling, wrestling, fencing, tennis and field-track-events.
Only men competed in these events. While most of the competitors were native Greeks, few were tourist who stumbled upon the games and was given the opportunity to paticipate.
The field-track-events held at the Panathenaic Stadium – originally constructed in 330 B.C. and rebuilt for the games in 1896.
Six Notable Records of the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896
- It is was held in Athens, Greece with 280 athletes in participation all males. Tourists were allowed to register and participate too.
- The first marathon competition was introduced in remembrance of a Greek soldier who cover a distance of 25miles from Marathon to Athens running to deliver the news about the victory over the Persians in 490 B.C.
- Spyridon Louis won the first marathon at the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens.
- Tourists participants mostly Americans won nine out of the twelve events at the Olympic Games.
- Pierre de Coubertin became the first president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and guided the games through its hard early years.
- Thirteen nations were represented at the events.
The Revival of the Olympic Games after its ban by Emperor Theodosius I
The Olympic games survived over 1,500 years ban and resurfaced in the 18th Century when a young French Baron named Pierre de Coubertin took it up and proposed its revival as a major international competition to take place every four years in 1892.
Subsequently, in June 1894 at the conference of international sports in Paris, Coubertin made the presentation and seventy-nine (79) delegates from nine countries unanimously approved the proposal. This led to the formation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the first Games were scheduled for 1896 in Athens, the Greek Capital city.
The early years of the modern Olympic Games saw less popularity with more difficulty gaining acceptance from fascilitators, however in 1924, the first recognized and successful Games took place in Paris and involved over three thousand (3,000) athletes, including 100 women, from forty-four (44) nations. Same year the first ever Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France.
Coubertin retired in 1925, after making the Olympic Games a prominent international sports competition. In 1994, the summer and winter Olympic games started taking place separately and alternating every two years.
The games continued to gain more recognition and in 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, over 10,000 athletes from 200 countries paricipated, including about 4,000 women.
Also, the 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens was an exciting one for the spectators especially the Greeks. The hallmark of it was the shotput competition that was held at the historical site of the classical Games in Olympia. This was the most exciting moments for the Greeks.