The Olympic Games or Olympics refer to one of the most popular international sporting everts that comprise both summer and winter competitions. With over 200 participating nations, these events are attended by thousands of athletes from various parts of the world. The Olympics happens every four years.
The inspiration for the creation of the Olympic Games stemmed from the ancient Olympic Games held in Olympia, Greece in the 8th century BC to 4th century AD. The International Olympic Committee was first founded by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894. Afterward, the IOC started service as the committee for all Olympic events.
Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, a number of changes occurred in the Olympic Movement and subsequently in the Olympic Games. For instance, Winter Olympic Games was developed for ice and winter sports, Paralympic Games for those with disability, and Youth Olympic Games for young athletes. In addition, the Olympics now allow the participation of professional athletes and mass media in terms of corporate sponsorship and commercialization. Meanwhile, the Olympics were not held during times of war, including the years 1916, 1940, and 1944.
On the other hand, the Olympic Movement includes international sports federations, National Olympic Committees, and organizing committees. The IOC plays the part of selecting the host for each Games and planning the games as per the Olympic Charter. The IOC is also in charge of choosing the sports to be featured during the Games. Meanwhile, Olympic rituals and symbols, including the Olympic flag and torch, are used during both opening and closing ceremonies.
The modern Olympic Games has its origins from the Ancient Olympics. These past events were the religious and athletic events held at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, Greece. Participants of such events included city-states or kingdoms in Ancient Greece. Some of the most common events held in Ancient Olympics included combat sports and horse and chariot racing. Some historical evidence indicated that city-states overlook their conflicts first just to wait for the games to finish. However, this assumption was already disproven. In fact, there never was any suspension in Greek law, though some religious pilgrims did manage to pass through warring territories unharmed.
Until the present, the true origins of Olympics remain uncertain. Some myths imply that Heracles and Zeus were the minds behind the creation of the Olympics. Some rumors also tell that Heracles coined the term “Olympic” and constructed the Olympic Stadium to honor his father, Zeus.
However, the most accepted date of the start of Olympics was in 776 BC, based on the inscriptions discovered in Olympia. The inscriptions showed lists of names of supposedly winders of a footrace that was held every four years starting from 776.
As mentioned, the origins of Olympics were laced with religion. Some of the sports events that were held then were paralleled by ritual sacrifices for Greeks gods, including Zeus and Pelops. The winners received honor and were glorified by poems and construction of their own statues. The Olympic Games were part of the Panhellenic Games, a cycle of games including the Pythian Games, Nemean Games, and the Isthmian Games.