The Olympic Games
Essay No. 01
The ancient Greeks took their health and physical fitness seriously. Many Greek physicians linked exercise with health. Greek valued strength, speed, and valor in men. No wonder birth of the Olympics (the original Olympics of the ancient world) took place in Olympia. Greece in 776 BC. Ancient Olympics was held like a festival or celebration beginning with rituals and ceremonies & games held for several days. In fact, nude men participated in running, lifting weights, boxing, and throwing discus & javelin in front of the packed stadium. They believe that the Olympics were the celebration of the achievements of the human body. It was also considered a religious festival held in honour of Zeus, the Greek god at Olympia. According to the legend, it was founded by Heracles, son of Zeus and Alcmene. The lighting and bearing of the torch were an integral part of Greek ceremonies held at night. Inspiration & flames lit by the race of sun always burned in Olympia. These games were held every four years and the period between two celebrations was called the “Olympiad’. There were about 20 events held between the 5th — 6th century B.C
Unfortunately, the importance of this game declined with Roman power taking over Greece. Olympic games were revived in the 19th century — a Greek philanthropist Evangelos Zappas, revived it and the first Modem International Olympic games was held at Athens city square in 1859. Later, baron, Pierre de Coubertin, Frenchman founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in 1894, which is the supreme authority. Maintaining the ideals of ancient games; the first IOC Olympic Games took places in Athens in 1896. The number of participants increased and was not restricted to Greece. The second IOC Olympic Games took place in 1900, in Paris and women, for the first time were allowed to compete. Olympic Games grew and its aim to spread peace through sports was recognized. The Modem era Olympics had an Olympics symbol and were used in 1974. It has five interconnected rings of different colors. Before, 1970, games were opened to amateur competitors and by in 1980 it was opened to professional athletics in various games.
The modern Olympic Games have Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics held and hosted separately. Olympics grew from 241 participants in 1896 to 11,100 competitors (i.e. 202 participant nations) at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. Mowing professional athletes and attracting sponsorship from big companies solved financial problems because of the large number of athletes, spectators, events infrastructure and media involved it is a difficult and expensive task for host cities, to organize Olympics. The Olympics has faced a lot of problems like boycott (protest), doping or the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes, wars, terrorist threat, and so on but still, it has its charm and is immensely valued by sports persons all over the world.
The present president of IOC is Jacques Rogge and under his leadership, the tradition, standards, and values are still maintained.
The Olympic Games, from torch bearing relay, opening ceremony (spectacle watched by millions), athletic events, matches, closing ceremony, and medal ceremony is the biggest sporting event. Currently, there are 35 sports, 53 disciplines, and more than 400 events.
In the opening ceremony, the march of the participating nation is led by Greece (because of its historical status) and the host country marches last. The ceremony is a showcase of traditional, cultural displays of the host country (with music and dances) and very colorful. The President of IOC makes a speech. invites the head of the state who declares the games open. The Olympic flag (5 colored rings intertwined, representing the five continents, and the white background representing the field) is hosted with the Olympic anthem. The oath is taken (to compete and judge according to the rules) and the torch is brought to light the stadium cauldron.
Children and sportsperson watch most of the events and are always eager to know the performance of their countrymen. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are given with certificates and wreaths to the winners. In ancient days, the winner was presented with a crown of Olive leaves. The respected national flags of the winners are raised. The gold winner’s flag is always in the center and raised above the others. Also, the anthem of the gold-winning country is sung, It’s a proud movement for the winner.
Olympic Games with its Greek aura and an event spreading peace and harmony through sports is more valuable and important to winners and competitor because it is held once in four years.
Essay No. 02
Olympic Games are held every four years. These games were first of all instituted by the Greeks. They were organised after every four years at a place called Olympus in Greece. Athletes from all over Greece used to go to Olympus to take part in these games.
These games were combined patriotic, religious, and athletic festivals held every four years. The first such recorded festival of games was held in 776 B.C. the date from which the Greeks began to keep their calendar by “Olympiads”, or four year span between the games.
The Olympic Games were organised in the modern age in 1896 when they were held at Athens in Greece. The credit for their revival goes to the great efforts made by Baron de Coubertin, a French educator. He revived these games to foster better international understanding through the universal medium of youth’s love for athletics. Since 1896 they have been held more or less every fourth year. The venue of the games is changed from country to country.
Thousands of athletes from all countries of the world participate in these games which are held in high prestige. These games are the symbol of international friendship and brotherhood. The Olympic symbol comprises of five rings or circles linked together to represent the sporting friendship of all people. These rings also symbolize the five continents-Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and America. Each ring is of different colour i.e. blue, yellow, black, green, and red.
The Olympic Flag has interlocking rings on plain white background. The Olympic flame symbolizes the continuity between the ancient and modern Games. The torch used to kindle the flame is first lit by the sun’s rays at Olympia in Greece and then carried to the site of the games by relays of runners. There it is kept burning till the last day of the games.
Every athlete of the host country recites the oath that he will take part in the Olympic Games respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them. The Olympic heroes received a crown of olive branches in the ancient times. But in the modern Olympic Games, the winners are given medals and certificates. The athlete standing first gets a gold medal, a silver medal is given to the second and a bronze medal is awarded to the player standing third. At present, there are 21 sports which are played at the Olympic Games.