The purpose of the modern Olympic Games is to promote peace and unity within the international community through the medium of sports. The founder, Pierre de Coubertin, saw the games as a way to bring political enemies together.
The modern Olympic Games were inspired by the ancient Olympic Games played during the Roman Empire. Those games lasted for 1,200 years until about A.D. 400, when the games were banned by the Roman emperor at the time. After being involved in many battles, Pierre de Coubertin had the idea that sport could act as a way to build bridges between countries. In 1890 he formed the Union des Sociétés Francaises de Sports Athlétiques.
Four years later, de Coubertin proposed that the modern Olympic Games be created, and delegates representing nine countries agreed to his plan. The first modern Olympic Games were set for 1896 at the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games: Athens. Pierre de Coubertin formed an international committee to organize the games, and this grouping eventually became what is today known as the International Olympic Committee. Since that time, the games have been shared around many countries with the goal of breaking down cultural barriers and bringing people together.