History of the First Olympic Games
The program of events was very basic by modern standards, with
Hello I'm Milo for About.com and today we're talking about the history of the Ancient Olympic Games. With almost 3,000 years of history, it's not surprising that the detailed origins of the Olympics are shrouded in myth and legend, but ancient documents tell us that the first games were held in the year 776 BC in the Greek city of Olympia as an act of celebration for the Greek god Zeus. The games were very different to the worldwide international event we know today. For instance, the athletes were all men and all of Greek descent. Women, along with slaves, were not permitted, and warring regions would agree to put aside their differences during the games in order to allow the free passage of athletes.The program of events was very basic by modern standards, with no team events at all. All but the equestrian events took place in the main stadium and were limited to sports such as wrestling, boxing, long jump, javelin and discus. The running events were separated into 3 types. The "stade" was very much the 100m sprint of its day, designed to test only the very fastest athletes. The "Diaulos" involved running two lengths of the stadium. The "Dolichos" was the long distance of the time, at 20 lengths.Unlike today, winners of Olympic events had to wait until the final day of competition to be awarded their prize, and there was no concept of gold, silver and bronze, with just a single winner declared for each event who, in recognition of their achievement, were presented with a crown made of olive branches on the head and a palm leaf in the hand. On their return to their respective hometowns, victorious athletes would receive a hero's welcome along with a lifetime of assorted benefits, and often even a statue would be erected in their honour. With the fall of Greece to the Roman Empire, the games entered a long period of slow decline which ended with their abolishment in the year 393AD. For more excellent, insightful, and interesting information on the 20th century, check us out at About.com.