The first Olympic Games

Essay by rosalcindyCollege, UndergraduateA-, July 2006

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The first Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C. at Olympia hence, the name Olympics. There is a common confusion about the name Of Olympia. The Greeks gods lived on Mount Olympus argued peak in Thessaly, in Northern Greece. The sanctuary of Olympia, where the Games were held, lies in Southern Greece, in the claw shaped peninsula known as the Peloponnesus. Olympia's name echoes the mountains, to emphasize its sanctity (Perrottet, 2004, p.8). For five hectic days and nights, Olympia was the undisputed capital of the world, and visitors hardly knew where to turn first. There was sacred sightseeing to be done: the sanctuary of Olympia was an open air museum, and visitors rushed between events from temple to temple (Perrottet, 2004, p.11). This is considered the first Olympics because it was the first time it was nationally organized amongst the independent Greek nations. The true purpose of the ancient Olympics was to honor their gods; especially Zeus, and compete for the love of physical exercise.

By the first full moon after the summer solstice thirty days before the games began every athlete who wanted to compete in the Olympics was obligated to register personally before the judges in the city of Elis. It was this host city rather than the sanctuary of Olympia that became the original Olympic Village. There an invasion of hopefuls was forced to train together in isolation throughout the midsummer (Perrottet, 2004, p.47).

The ancient Greeks believed that the Olympics symbolized a gathering together and celebration of what was great about Greece. To recapture the allure of the ancient Olympics, we have to realize that sports were only one part of the festival. The games were actually the ultimate pagan entertainment package, where every human diversion could be found at once, on and off the...