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History of Olympic Games

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Introduction

The world’s greatest international sports games are known as the Olympic
Games. The Olympic idea means friendship, fraternity and cooperation
among the people of the world. The Olympic Movement proves that real
peace can be achieved through sport. The Olympic emblem is five
interlinked rings: blue, yellow, black, green and red. Any national flag
contains at least one of these colours. The original Olympic Games began
in ancient Greece in 776 B.C. These games were part of a festival held
every fourth year in honor of God Zeus at the place called Olympia. It
was a great athletic festival, including competitions in wrestling, foot
racing and chariot racing, rowing and others. The games were for men
only. Greek women were forbidden not only to participate but also to
watch the Olympics. The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens
in 1896. Then they were resumed in London after the Second World War.
Since then the Olympics are held every fourth year in different
countries. The ancient Greeks had no winter sports. Only in 1924 the
first Winter Olympic Games were held in France, Now they are being held
regularly.

1. History of development of Olympic Games

The Olympics have a very long history. They began in 776 B. C. and took
place every four years for nearly 1200 years at Olympia, in Greece. The
decree of that time was that there should be no wars during the
Olympiad. At first the Olympics lasted only five days and the
competition was only in running. The Olympic programme grew as the games
developed and a lot of sports events were added: long-distance, racing,
wrestling, the pentathlon, horse-back racing, etc. The only prize for
each contest was a garland of wild olive. The successful athlete,
however, received other rewards. His friends and admirers showered him
with flowers and costly gifts. His name was recorded in the Greek
calendar. Poets sang his praises and sculptors carved his statue. An
Olympian prize was regarded as the crown of human happiness. When the
successful athletes returned home the wall to their city was broken in
order to let them enter. So, they did not enter through the gate. The
motto was “With such defenders we need no wall”. The ancient Greek
Olympic Games were for men only. Women, foreigners and slaves were
forbidden to compete. When the Greeks lost their authority and became
dependent on Rome the games almost stopped existing. They lasted till
394 A.D., when the Roman Emperor Theodosius I abolished them on the
grounds that they were of pagan origin. Theodosius dismantled the Temple
of Zeus and destroyed Olympia. Fifteen hundred years later, in 1894, a
Frenchman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, persuaded people from fifteen
countries to start the Olympic Games again. His words “It’s a great
honor to win, but still a greater honor to compete” became an Olympic
motto. Only a dozen countries took-part then (285 competitors), but it
was a start and a good one. It was not until the Fourth Olympics in
London, in 1908 that women were allowed to compete for the first time.
The Winter Olympics have been held since 1924. At first Scandinavians
dominated in all kinds of Winter Sports, that’s why the Flag of Norway
was considered to be the flag of the Winter Games. At present the
Olympic flag has a white background with five rings in the middle, in
turquoise, yellow, black, green and red. No Olympic Games can start
without the Olympic Flame, the symbol of the spirit of friendly
competition, which comes from the classic temple on Olympia, Greece. The
first of the modern series of games took place in Athens, in 1896. At
the fourth Olympics, in 1908, in London, there were more than two
thousand competitors, from twenty-one different countries. Since then,
the number of athletes competing has increased each time. The
International Olympic Committee at Lausanne, in Switzerland, decides
where each Olympics will take place. They ask a city (not a country) to
be host one city for the Winter Olympics and one for the Summer Olympic
Games. Nearly 150 countries are represented in the International

2. The beginning and development of Olympic Games

2.1 Olympic Games-liquidators of wars and civil strife’s

Long ago ancient Greeks often waged wars. Small states suffered and lost
much even if they did not take any side and stayed out of wars. The
ruler of such a small state, Elis, wanted to live in peace with all
neighbours. He was a good di plomat because his negotiations were
successful and Elis was recognized a neutral state. To celebrate this
achievement, he organized athletic games. In the beginning this feast
lasted one day, but later a whole month was devoted to it. All wars and
feuds were stopped by special heralds who rode in all directions of
Greece. The games were held every four years in Olympia on the territory
of Elis. The first games which later were called the Olympic Games were
held about a thousand years before our era. Usually the Olympic Games
began before the middle of the summer. Best athletes arrived from many
Greek states to Olympia to compete in running, long jumps, throwing of
discus and javelin and wrestling. In the course of time fist fighting
(boxing) and chariot races were also included in the Games. All athletes
took an oath that they had been preparing, well for the Games and
promised to compete honestly and keep the rules of the sacred Olympics.
Tbe athletes took part in all.kinds of competitions. Winners were called
“olympionics”.

2.2 Olympic Games in art

Winners were awarded olive wreaths and cups of olive oil. This tradition
has survived. In our time sportsmen often get cups and wreaths for
winning the first place in sports competitions. The olympionics of
ancient Greece became very popular. Best craftsmen were chosen to make
honourary cups, many poets wrote and recited in public poems about the
best athletes. Sculptors made their statues which were put up at the
birthplace of the winners. The Olympic Games were accompanied by arts
festivals. Poets recited their poems, singers sang hymns, dancers danced
and orators pronounced speeches — all this in honour of the sacred
Games. Only men could take part in the Olympic Games. Women were not
allowed even to watch the competitions at the stadium under the fear of
death penalty. There was a single exception, when a woman coached her
son and accompanied him to the stadium in men’s clothes. That brave
woman was spared the penalty because her son excelled in many events.
Magnificent strong bodies inspired artists and sculptors. They painted
wall pictures and made statues of marble and bronze, so now we can
admire the corporal beauty of ancient and eternally young discus
thrower, javelin bearer and others. The Olympic Games had been held for
about eleven hundred years, until the emperor Theodosius banned them for
religious reasons in 394 A. D.

2.3 The revival of the Olympic Games

The revival of the Olympic Games began long time afterwards, in 1892,
when a young French teacher Pierre de Coubertiii made a public speech
before the Union of French sports clubs in Paris. At that time many
people in many countries practised various kinds of sports and games.
They wanted to make friends and compete with sportsmen from other lands.
Pierre de Coubertin understood the importance of sports which unified
peoples of the world and served the cause of peace like in ancient time.

On the 23rd of June 1894 the International Congress of amateur sportsmen
made an important decision: to revive the Olympic Games and to establish
the International Olympic Committee which would be responsible for the
administration of the modern Olympic Games. The first Committee
consisted of 12 members. Now 82 members of the International Olympic
Committee control the affairs of all member countries which joined the
Olympic movement.

2.4 Modern Olympic Games

The modern Olympic era began in 1894 when Frenchman Baron Pierre de
Coubertin decided to revive the ancient Greek tradition of celebrating
health, youth and peace with a sports festival. Baron de Coubertin
created the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the first modem
Olympiad took place in Athens in 1896. Since then the Olympic Games have
been held every four years with only two exceptions because of the two
world wars.

Even though the modern Olympic Games embrace the whole world, the
connection with Greece is still very strong. A lighted torch is brought
all the way from Greece, carried by a relay of runners, in order to
light the Olympic Flame which bums all through the Games. As in ancient
Greek times, the competitors still take the Olympic Oath. The
long-distance race is still called the Marathon. Marathon was a village
about 26 miles from Athens. In the year 490 BC the Greeks defeated a
powerful Persian army at that spot. After the fierce day’s fighting a
soldier volunteered to bring news of the victory to the anxious citizens
of Athens. He ran all the way and after gasping out the message.
“Rejoice, we conquer!” he collapsed and died.

One important rule of the Olympic Games is that the competitors must be
amateurs. This rule has been under a lot of pressure in recent years
because modem sport is so professional and competitive.

Athletes train for years to take part in the Olympics and some countries
spend much more than others on equipment and facilities. But despite
these pressures, the amateur rule remains.

In modern times the Olympic movement has become an enormous and
expensive organisation. It’s controlled by the International Olympic
Committee, which consists of members from all the participating
countries. The IOC is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It chooses the
locations of both summer and winter games (both take place once very
four years, with winter games half a year before summer Olympiads). It
also controls the rules of the competitions and selects new Olympic
sports. The famous flag of the IOC shows five rings of different colors
linked together. The rings represent the five continents.

3. The Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are one of the most spectacular reminders of the debt
we owe to the Greeks.

The original Olympic Games were held every four years in honour of Zeus,
the supreme god of Greek religion. The first record of the games dates
from 776 B.C., but it is certain that they existed prior to that. They
were held continuously for over 1.000 years until they were abolished in
the reign of King Theodosius about 392 A.D. The Olympic festival was a
great unifying bond between the Independent city-states of Greece.

The important sports in the original Olympic Games were running,
jumping, wrestling, throwing the discus and throwing the javelin. Only
men competed and they wore no clothes in order to have greater freedom
of movement. Each competitor had to take the Olympic Oath – a promise to
behave in a sportsman-like fashion.

The modern Olympic era began in 1894 when Frenchman Baron Pierre de
Coubertin decided to revive the ancient Greek tradition of celebrating
health, youth and peace with a sports festival. Baron de Coubertin
created the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the first modem
Olympiad took place in Athens in 1896. Since then the Olympic Games have
been held every four years with only two exceptions because of the two
world wars.

Even though the modern Olympic Games embrace the whole world, the
connection with Greece is still very strong. A lighted torch is brought
all the way from Greece, carried by a relay of runners, in order to
light the Olympic Flame which bums all through the Games. As in ancient
Greek times, the competitors still take the Olympic Oath. The
long-distance race is still called the Marathon. Marathon was a village
about 26 miles from Athens. In the year 490 BC the Greeks defeated a
powerful Persian army at that spot. After the fierce day’s fighting a
soldier volunteered to bring news of the victory to the anxious citizens
of Athens. He ran all the way and after gasping out the message.
“Rejoice, we conquer!” he collapsed and died.

One important rule of the Olympic Games is that the competitors must be
amateurs. This rule has been under a lot of pressure in recent years
because modem sport is so professional and competitive.

Athletes train for years to take part in the Olympics and some countries
spend much more than others on equipment and facilities. But despite
these pressures, the amateur rule remains.

In modern times the Olympic movement has become an enormous and
expensive organization, It’s controlled by the International Olympic
Committee, which consists of members from all the participating
countries. The IOC is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It chooses the
locations of both summer and winter games (both take place once very
four years, with winter games half a year before summer Olympiads). It
also controls the rules of the competitions and selects new Olympic
sports. The famous flag of the IOC shows five rings of different colours
linked together. The rings represent the five continents.

3.1 National sports of Great Britain

Many kinds of sport originated from England. The English have a proverb,
«All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy». They do not think that
play is more important than work; they think that Jack will do his work
better if he plays as well. so he is encouraged to do both. Association
football, or soccer is one of the most popular games in the British
Isles played from late August until the beginning of May. In summer the
English national sport is cricket. When the English say: “that’s not
cricket” it means “that’s not fair”, “to play the game” means “to be
fair”.

Golf is Scotland’s chief contribution to British sport. It is worth
noting here an interesting feature of sporting life in Britain, namely,
its frequently close connections with social class of the players or
spectators except where a game may be said to be a “national” sport.
This is the case with cricket in England which is played and watched by
all classes. This is true of golf, which is everywhere in the British
Isles a middle-class activity. Rugby Union. the amateur variety of Rugby
football, is the Welsh national sport played by all sections of society
whereas, elsewhere, it too is a game for the middle classes.

Association football is a working-class sport as are boxing, wrestling,
snooker, darts, and dog-racing. As far as fishing is concerned it is a
sport where what is caught determines the class of a fisherman.

Walking and swimming are the two most popular sporting activities, being
almost equally undertaken by men and women. Snooker (billiards), pool
and darts are the next most popular sports among men. Aerobics (keep-fit
exercises) and yoga. squash and cycling are among the sports where
participation has been increasing in recent years.

There are several places in Britain associated with a particular kind of
sport. One of them is Wimbledon where the All-England Lawn Tennis
Championship are held in July (since 1877). The other one is Wembly – a
stadium in north London where international football matches, the Cup
Finals and other events have taken place since 1923.

3.2 The Olympic games in London

London was host for the first time in 1908. With 1,500 competitors from
19 nations, the Games were by now an institution of world-wide
significance. The programme, moreover, was augmented by the inclusion of
Association football (which appeared in 1900 but only in a demonstration
match), diving, field hockey, and ice hockey, as well as other sports
since discontinued.

The most dramatic episode of these Games was in the marathon, run from
Windsor to Shepherd’s Bush in London, the site of a new stadium. Pietri
(Italy) led into the arena but collapsed and was disqualified for
accepting assistance from officials. The gold medal went to the second
man home, Hayes (USA), but Queen Alexandra, who was present opposite the
finishing line, was so moved by the Italian’s plight that she awarded
him special gold cup. The 400 meters provided an opportunity for
Halswelle (GB) to become the only man in Olympic history to win by a
walk-over. The final was declared void after an American had been
disqualified for boring.

Two other Americans withdrew from re-run final in protest, leaving
Halswelle an unopposed passage. Britain won the polo, and all the
boxing, lawn tennis, rackets, rowing, and yachting titles as well as
five out of six cycle races.

3.3 Table tennis

Table tennis was first Invented in England in about 1880. At first the
game had several strange names: Gossima. Whiff Whaff and Ping Pong. It
wasn’t until 1926 that the International Table Tennis Association was
formed with international championships and rules.

Although the game was invented in England British players don’t have
much chance in international championships. It’s the Chinese with their
fantastic speed and power who win almost every title. Table tennis looks
more like gymnastics when the Chinese start playing, with the ball
flying over the net at speeds of over 150 kilometers per hour.

3.4 Racing

There are all kinds of racing in England – horse-racing, motor-car
racing, boat-racing, dog-racing, and even races for donkeys. On sports
days at school boys and girls run races, and even train for them. There
is usually a mile race for older boys, and one who wins it is certainly
a good runner.

Usually those who run a race go as fast as possible, but there are some
races in which everybody has to go very carefully in order to avoid
falling.

The most famous boat-race in England is between Oxford and Cambridge. It
is rowed over a course on the River Thames, and thousands of people go
to watch it. The eight rowers in each boat have great struggle, and at
the end there is usually only a short distance between the winners and
the losers.

The University boat-race started in 1820 and has been rowed on the
Thames almost every spring since 1836.

3.5 Squash

Squash began at Harrow School in the mid-nineteenth century, but has
since worked its way Into almost every city and district in Britain and
throughout Europe.

Squash is one of the fastest games in the world. Two people play in a
small confined space surrounded by high walls with no net to keep them
apart. The aim is to get to the point at the centre of the court and to
stay there.

Squash players hope that the game will make them stronger and fitter,
but. like many sports, squash can be very dangerous. The most obvious
danger is the small ball that shoots through the air extremely fast.

3.6 Windsurfing

Windsurfing was invented in the mid-sixties by two southern Californian
surfers, Hoyle Schweitzer and Jim Drake. Surfers need strong rolling
waves, and hate days of calm sea. Schweitzer noticed that on days when
waves were not high enough to surf, there was often a strong wind and he
set about finding a way to use it.

His first experiments Involved standing on his surfboard holding out a
piece of sail cloth in his hands. Gradually he and Drake refined this
idea into a basic design for a sailboard, similar to a surfboard, but
holding a mast and a triangular sail which could be tilted and turned in
any direction. The windsurfer operates a boom which controls the amount
of wind in the sail, for speed and change of direction. Schweitzer
immediately went into business designing and making the new sailboards
and taking the idea abroad. By mid-seventies, the sport had spread to
Holland, Germany and France.

Conclusior

The Olympic Games are one of the most spectacular reminders of the debt
we owe to the Greeks.

The Olympic idea means friendship, fraternity and cooperation among the
people of the world. All wars and feuds were stopped by special heralds
who rode in all directions of Greece. The Olympic Movement proves that
real peace can be achieved through sport.

Thanks to Olympic games, wars became much less, after all people could
compete and resolve disputes in sports meets. And after they have got
completely sports interest.

In modern times the Olympic movement has become an enormous and
expensive organisation, as well professional and competitive. Athletes
train for years to take part in the Olympics and some countries spend
much more than others on equipment and facilities. As well games it’s
controlled by the International Olympic Committee, which consists of
members from all the participating countries.

Literature

1. Базунов Б. Эстафета олимпийского огня. М., 1990;

2. Барвинский В., Вилинский С. Рождено Олимпиадой. М., 1985;

3. Кун Л. Всеобщая история физической культуры и спорта. М., 1987;

7. Олимпийская энциклопедия. М., 1980.

5. Хавин Б. Все об Олимпийских играх. М., 1979;

6. Шанин Ю. От эллинов до наших дней. М., 1975;

7. Штейнбах В. От Афин до Москвы. М., 1979;

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