Decline and revival of the Olympic tradition
After the Roman Empire conquered Greece in the middle of the second century, the Games have continued, but their standards and decline in quality. In a notorious example of 67, the descending Emperor Nero entered a race of Olympic cars, only for déshonder declaring himself winner even after a fall of his car during the event. In 1993, Emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, called to ban all “pagan” feasts, ending the ancient Olympic tradition after nearly 12 centuries.
It would be even 1,500 years before the Games will not recover, largely thanks to the efforts of Baron Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937) from France. Dedicated to the promotion of physical education, the young Baron was inspired by the idea of the modern Olympic Games, after visiting the former Olympic venue. In November 1892 at a meeting of the Athletic Sports Union in Paris, Coubertin proposed the idea of reviving the Olympic Games as an international sports competition held every four years. Two years later, he obtained the approval he needed to found the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which would become the governing body of the modern Olympic Games.
OLYMPICS over the years
The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. During the opening ceremony, King Georgios I and 60,000 spectators welcomed 280 participants from 13 nations (all men) participating in 43 events, including athletics, gymnastics, Swimming, wrestling, cycling, tennis, weightlifting, shooting and fencing. All subsequent Olympics were counted even when the games took place (as in 1916, during World War II and in 1940 and 1944, during World War II). The official symbol of modern games has five interlaced rings of colors, representing the continents of North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. The Olympic flag with the blank symbol flew for the first time at the Antwerp Games in 1920.
The Olympic Games took off as an international sporting event after 1924, when the VIII Games took place in Paris. Some 3000 athletes (including 100 women among them) from 44 nations participated this year, and for the first time, the games show a closing ceremony. The Winter Olympics have started this year, including events such as figure skating, ice hockey, bobsleigh and biathlon. Eighty years later, when the 2004 Olympic Games returned to Athens for the first time in over a century, nearly 11,000 athletes from a record 201 countries participated. In a move that has joined the ancient and modern Olympian tradition, this year’s drawing contest took place on the site of the classic games of Olympia.