Written by Kaz Bosali
The world is currently enjoying the much needed sportsmanship and global connection that the Tokyo Olympics 2020 games have offered us following a difficult year and a half from Covid-19.
It’s brought the world together, after it was postponed from last year. The Olympic games are now a tradition that the world enjoys but few appreciate the rich and amazing history behind the Olympics. The following are 3 facts you (probably) didn’t know about the Olympics.
It was invented as a homage to the god Zeus
Starting in 776 BC, the Olympics were invented as a way of worshipping the god Zeus. It was held in his temple at Olympia, which had a 12.4 m statue of Zeus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
The winners were awarded differently
The athletes at the time were not competing for the coveted gold, silver or bronze medals as a visual representation of their triumph against their competitors!
The ancient Greeks were fighting for an olive wreath. This particular olive wreath was special because it was picked from the tree behind the statue of Zeus, which was made of wood and covered in gold and ivory.
Emperor Theodosius stopped the games from continuing
The games started in 776 BC and were held every four years – until 393 AD. In a bid to promote Christianity and ban paganism, Emperor Theodosius abolished the Olympic games. This lasted until the 19th century when the games were revived. The games would now be held every four years, and the first game of 1896 was held in Greece’s capital Athens.
And this is a tradition that has remained till this day; a wonderful way that has enabled the world to put their differences aside and enjoy the games.
To learn more about Ancient Greece, read our study guide here.