According to historical records, the original ancient Olympic Games began as a dedication to the Olympian gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia. The origins of the Olympic Games can be traced to as far back as 776 B.C.
The Olympic Games were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of the city-states of Ancient Greece. They were closely related to the religious festivals of the cult of Zeus without being an essential component of a rite. The games were held every four years, called an olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies. They continued to be celebrated for approximately 12 centuries, even when Greece came under Roman rule, until Emperor Theodosius I decreed in 393 A.D. that all such "pagan cults" be banned. The emperor took this action as part of a campaign to establish Christianity as the state religion of Rome.
The modern Olympic Games are the premier international sporting event, with over 200 nations participating. They feature summer- and winter-sports competitions in which a myriad of athletes worldwide participate in various competitions. The Summer and Winter Games reoccur every four years in an alternating pattern, with two years between any one Olympic competition.