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The Olympics

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The Olympics

The Olympics are a huge sporting event that contains many different sports and consists of many different countries from around the world.

Back in ancient Greece is where the ancient Olympics originated. It was primarily a part of a religious festival in honor of Zeus the father of Greek Gods and Goddesses. The Olympics where held at the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, which is in Western Peloponnesos. From 776 BC, the games took place at Olympia every 4 years for almost 12 centuries. In 776 BC the only event was the Stadion Race that was a foot race 600 feet long, Koroibos, a cook from Elis, won it. Additional athletic events were gradually added until; by the 5th century BC it was a 5-day program that consisted of three foot races, the pentathlon, boxing, wrestling, pankration, and the hoplitodromos.

The Greeks that came to the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia shared the same religious beliefs and spoke the same language. There where no females in the Olympics at this time so all the athletes where males who came from every corner of the Greek world, as far as Iberia in the West and the Black Sea in the East.

Although the ancient games where staged in Olympia, from 776 BC through 393 AD, it took 1503 years for the Olympics to return. The first modern Olympic games took place in Athens Greece in 1896. The man responsible for the rebirth was a Frenchman named Baron Pierre De Coubertin, who presented the idea in 1894. His original idea was to present the modern games in 1900 in his hometown Paris. But others were so enthusiastic with the idea that they convinced him to move it to 1896 and have Athens host it.

There were many great athletes throughout the history of the Olympics, But where some of the athletes worthy of earning a prize worth a hefty amount of money. This question has came about a numerous amount of times. But the word Athlete is a Greek word that means "one who competes for a prize" and is also related to the Greek words athlos meaning "contest" and athlon meaning "prize". According to the Roman author Plutarch, an Olympic victor who was a citizen of Athens could expect to receive in the year 600 BC a cash reward of 500 drachmai, a literal fortune. Later in Hellenistic periods, pensions for athletes became more formalized and could actually be bought and sold.

But were the ancient Olympics just for men? Along with the athletic contests there was a separate festival in honor of Hera the wife of Zeus. This festival included foot races for unmarried women. Although it is not known how old the festival was it could be as old as the festival for men. During the Hera festival unmarried girls competed in three age groups in a foot race that was a single length of the racecourse. The winners could dedicate paintings in the altis to commemorate their victories, and could take part in the sacrifice of cows in honor of Hera. Unmarried women had many advantages at Olympia. Not only did they have there own events, they were able to watch the men. But on the other hand married women could not compete and couldn't watch the men's competition and if they were to show up they would be killed.

As time went on girls gained more privileges. Women's first events were added in 1900 at Paris. They got their first marathon in 1984, softball in 1996, and in 2000 they got water polo, pole vaulting, trampoline, synchronized diving, and hammer throw.

In 1936 the Olympics took place at Berlin and it was called the Nazi Olympics. On may 13, 1931 the international Olympic committee Awarded the 1936 summer Olympics to Berlin. The choice signaled Germanys return to the world community after defeat in World War 1. For two weeks in August 1936, Adolf Hitler's Nazi dictatorship camouflaged its racist, militaristic character while hosting the summer Olympics. Germany exploited the games to bedazzle many foreign spectators and journalists with an image of a peaceful tolerant Germany. With the conclusion of the games, Germanys expansion policies and the persecution of Jews accelerated, culminating in World War II and the Holocaust.

From February sixth to February 16th, 1936, Germany hosted the winter Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps. German officials allowed Rudi Ball who was half Jewish to compete on the nations hockey team. Hitler also ordered anti-Jewish signs temporarily removed from sight. Western journalists observed and reported troop maneuvers at Garmisch. As a result, Germany would minimize the amount of military that they had at the summer Olympics. The 1936 Olympics were the first to employ the torch run as it took place from Olympia, Greece to Berlin. The ancient Olympics weren't just about sports there was also a political factor in there. People ended up talking about political issues, celebrated common military victories and even made military alliances. But it wasn't all good; there were still political conflicts. In 665 BC the powerful tyrant of Argos was asked by the town of Pisa to capture the sanctuary of Zeus from Elis. Pheidon marched across peloponnesos with his army and took the sanctuary and took over the Olympic games. But the next year Elis took back over the sanctuary. There was an Olympic truce that took place to protect against military conflicts that interrupted the games. Every four years special heralds were sent out all over the Greek world to announce the upcoming Olympic games. Along with this they would announce the Olympic truce, which protected athletes, visitors, spectators, and official embassies that came to the festival from becoming involved in local conflicts.

Now a days you don't have to look far to see how commercial sports are getting. At Olympic competitions athletes, uniforms and equipment show the difference between others but there is a still



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