Why Did the Olympics Start?


Quick Answer

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.

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Why Did the Olympics Start?
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Full Answer

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.

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