One of the most striking and massive events on the planet is the Olympic Games. Any athlete who manages to take the podium at the Olympic competitions receives the status of Olympic champion for life and his achievements remain in the world history of sports for centuries. Where and how did the Olympic Games originate and what is their history? Let’s try to conduct a brief excursion into the history of the emergence and conduct of the Olympic Games.
The Olympic Games originated in Ancient Greece, where they were not only a sports event, but also a religious holiday. Information about the very first games and their origin has not been preserved, but there are several legends that describe this event. The first documented date for the celebration of the Olympic Games is 776 BC. e. Despite the fact that the games were held earlier, it is generally accepted that they were established by Heracles. In 394 AD, with the advent of Christianity as an official religion, the Olympic Games were banned by Emperor Theodosius I, as they began to be regarded as a kind of pagan phenomenon. And, nevertheless, despite the ban on games, they did not disappear completely. In Europe, competitions were held locally, somewhat reminiscent of the Olympic Games. After some time, the games resumed thanks to Panagiotis Suzos,
The first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896 in the country where they arose – in Greece, in Athens. To organize the Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was created, the first president of which was Demetrius Vikelas. Despite the fact that only 241 athletes from 14 countries took part in the first Games of our time, they were a great success, becoming a significant sporting event in Greece. It was originally intended to always host the Games in their homeland, but the Olympic Committee decided that the venue would change every 4 years.
The II Olympic Games of 1900, held in France, in Paris, and the III Olympic Games of 1904, held in the USA, in St. Louis (Missouri), were less successful, as a result of which the Olympic movement as a whole experienced the first crisis after a significant success. Since the Games were combined with the World Exhibitions, they did not arouse much interest among the audience, and sports competitions lasted for months.
In 1906, again in Athens (Greece), the so-called “intermediate” Olympic Games were held. At first, the IOC supported the holding of these Games, but now they are not recognized as Olympic. There is an opinion of some sports historians that the 1906 Games were a kind of salvation of the Olympic idea, which did not allow the Games to lose their meaning and become “unnecessary.”
All rules, principles and regulations are determined by the Charter of the Olympic Games, approved in Paris in 1894 by the International Sports Congress. The Olympiad has been counted since the first Games (I Olympiad – 1896-99). If even games are not held, the Olympics will receive its serial number, for example, the VI Games in 1916-19, the XII Games in 1940-43, and XIII in 1944-47. The Olympic Games are symbolized by five rings of different colours bonded together (Olympic rings), indicating the union of the five parts of the world – the upper row: blue – Europe, black – Africa, red – America, and the bottom row: yellow – Asia, green – Australia. The selection of venues for the Olympics is carried out by the IOC. All organizational issues related to the Games are decided not by the selected country, but by the city. The duration of the Games is approximately 16-18 days.
The Olympic Games, like any strictly organized event, have their own specific traditions and rituals.
Here are some of them:
- before the opening and closing of the games, theatrical performances are held that present the audience with the appearance and culture of the country and city in which they are held;
- A ceremonial passage through the central stadium of athletes and members of delegations. Athletes of each country go in separate groups in alphabetical order of country names in the language of the country in which the Games are held, or in the official language of the IOC (English or French). In front of each group is a representative of the host country, who carries a sign with the name of the respective country. It is followed by a standard bearer carrying the flag of his country. This, a very honorable mission, as a rule, is provided to the most respected and titled athletes ;
- without fail, the president of the International Olympic Committee makes welcome speeches. Also, the speech is delivered by the head of state in which the Games are held;
- the flag of Greece rises as the country in which the Olympic Games arose. Her national anthem is being performed;
- the flag of the country in which the Games are held is raised and the performance of its national anthem follows; – one of the outstanding athletes of the host country of the Games pronounces an oath on behalf of all participants about fair wrestling and competitions that will comply with all principles and rules of sports;
- the opening ceremony ends with the lighting and the relay of the Olympic flame. The initial part of the relay passes through the cities of Greece, the final – through the cities of the country in which the games are held. A torch with fire is delivered to the city, which organizes the Games on the day of their opening. The fire burns until the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games;
- The closing ceremony is also accompanied by theatrical performances, a speech by the President of the IOC, the passage of participants, etc. The President of the IOC announces the closure of the Olympics, followed by the performance of the country’s anthem, the Olympic Games anthem, and the descent of flags. At the end of the ceremony, the Olympic flame goes out.
Each country participating in the Olympic Games develops its own official emblem and mascot of the Games, which become part of souvenir products.