The Origin of the Olympic Movement

2020-06-24 | By Historian | Filed in: Culture.

One day in 776 BC, the first Olympic Games on the Peloponnese Peninsula began. This is the day when the ancient Olympic Movement officially went down in history. Today, let’s trace back to the long river of history and explore the Olympics that you do not know.


It is generally believed that the Olympic Games got its name from Olympia, its birthplace, but it is not entirely accurate. Many historians believe that earlyFrom the 11th to 8th centuries BC, regular games began to appear in the Ilia region. By the 8th century BC, the Games reached its peak and gradually became a sports event attended by Greek city-states, Asia Minor and many other regions. It was praised as “the Games dedicated to Zeus of Olympus” to show its worship of Zeus, the main god of Greek mythology. The first ancient Olympic Games were held in 776 BC and 293 were held in 394 AD. The games are held every 1417 days. Later, people called this cycle the Olympic cycle. Over time, the place where the games are held is called “Olympia”.


At first, the Olympics were held for only one day, but it was not extended to five days until the 77th in 472 BC. On the first day, the opening ceremony will be held first. People held a ceremony in the “hotel” early in the morning and athletes registered. Later, athletes, coaches, young athletes’ fathers or elder brothers, etc. should take an oath and make an oath to abide by the rules of the competition. Referees should also take an oath to ensure the fairness of the referee. After taking the oath, the athletes and referees will walk through the tunnel into the stadium and receive the blessing of the priestess of Dmitra, the mother of the earth.

The next day, horse races and chariot races were held. Pentathlon in the afternoon. In the evening, there will be activities to commemorate Pelopes. People think that he is the founder of the sports meeting.


The third day is also the most important day of the sports meeting. The first thing to do is to hold a sacrifice to Zeus. People will present 100 cows to Zeus in front of the altar and hold a grand parade. In the afternoon, there will be races, long-distance races, round-trip races, etc. The length of the runway in the stadium is set at 192.27 meters, i.e. A “Starr”. It is said that this is determined by the length of Hercules’ feet. It is said that Hercules’ feet are huge and he runs like a fly. Based on the calculation of 600 times his feet, a “Starr” is obtained as the basic unit of running competition. Today, Greek and many other European languages still use the word, which means “Stadium”.

On the fourth day, strength competitions will be held, such as wrestling, boxing, mixed fights and armed races.


On the fifth day, that is, the last day of the sports meeting, an award ceremony will be held, and the winner will wear the corolla of olive branch. If someone wins the championship three times in a row, he can enjoy the honor of setting up a statue at Olympia. After the award ceremony, a banquet will be held in the “Hotel”. People will sing hymns and celebrate until the next morning.

At that time, Olympia Games was the biggest sports event in Greece. Outstanding athletes from all over the world were proud to participate in the competition, and winning the competition was the greatest honor an athlete could get. Of course, athletes have to go through strict examination and training before the competition, which lasts for up to 10 months. The first nine months of training were in his hometown, while the last month was concentrated in Olympia. Therefore, there are not only stadiums, but also training grounds and arenas in the site.


The ancient Olympic Games were famous for their strict laws and regulations. Anyone who violated the rules or regulations of the Games, such as bribing referees, will be severely punished. There is an area called “Danes” in the ruins of Olympia. There were 16 bronze statues of Zeus. The base of each statue was engraved with the name of the violator of the competition rules as a punishment and a warning to future generations. The competition has requirements not only for athletes, but also for spectators. For example, when watching the competition, out of respect for God, no matter what the weather conditions are, they are not allowed to wear hats. Therefore, under the scorching sun, many old people could not bear the high temperature and fainted.

In addition, in order to maintain the sanctity of sports, the Greeks reached an agreement: during the competition, all wars between the city-states would stop. Once the agreement enters into force, all parties will unconditionally accept it. During the month or months of the Olympics (in addition to the competition period, plus the training period and the round trip time), the ancient Greeks transferred their blood from the battlefield to the competition field. Even when the Persians invaded in 480 BC, the Olympics did not stop. In 420 BC, Spartans were heavily fined for breaking the Holy Armistice Agreement and refused to participate in the Olympics.

Reprinted from Public Number: Chinese Embassy in Greece


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