Olympic games

The Olympic games in London are considered the 30th in a row. But each of our inquisitive readers probably had a question, why so, because the revival of the Olympic movement occurred in 1896, but not all the games took place. In addition, it is interesting to compare the games of the ancient Greeks and modern Olympic games.

The ruins of a gymnastic school in Olympia (3rd century BC)

The ruins of the gymnastic school are the palestra in Olympia. 3rd century BC.

The Olympic games in ancient Greece are the greatest national holidays. They took place in Olympia and, according to the oldest legend, originated in the time of Kronos, in honor of the Ideological Hercules. According to this legend, Ray transmitted the newborn Zeus to the ideological Dactyls. Five of them came from Crete Ida to Olympia, where a temple was built in honor of Kronos. Hercules, the eldest of the brothers, defeated everyone in the race and was rewarded for winning with a wreath of wild olive. In this case, Hercules established the competition, which should have happened in 5 years.

The first historical fact connected with the Olympic games is the resumption by their king Elida Iphit and the legislator of Sparta Lycurgus, whose names were inscribed on a disk kept in Gereon (in Olympia) back in the days of Pausanias. Since that time (according to one data, the year of the resumption of games - 884, in others - 828 BC), the interval between two successive celebrations of games was four years or an olympiad, but the starting point was the Olympic Games of 776 BC. Renewing the Olympic Games, Iphit established for the time of their celebration a sacred truce, which was declared a special herald, first in Elis, then in the rest of Greece. At this time, it was impossible to wage war not only in Elis, but also in other parts of Hellas.

The Olympic games took place on the first full moon after the summer solstice, that is, in the Attic month of Hecatombeo, and lasted five days, of which one part was devoted to the competitions, the other part to religious rituals, with sacrifices, processions and public feasts in honor of the winners. The program of the first Olympiads was quite simple and consisted of a single type of running for one stage (193 meters). In the festive competitions only pure-blooded Hellenes could participate, the barbarians could only be spectators. An exception was made in favor of the Romans, who, as owners of the land, could change religious custom at will. Women could not look at the games, except for the priestess Demeter. The number of spectators and performers was very high, many used this time to make trade and other deals, and poets and artists to introduce the public to their works. From various countries of Greece were sent to the holiday special deputies who competed with each other in the abundance of offerings to maintain the honor of their city.

Athletes started in pairs, as there were no ways of fixing time and the winner was considered to be the one who, according to the judges, finished the race in one stage before his opponent. The winner moved on and participated in the next race with another winner. This was the birth of the famous system of competitions with the elimination of the loser, which is still called the Olympic one, and according to which competitions are held in many kinds of sports games, track and field, boxing, etc. The races lasted the whole day, until finally, the only, unique, strongest and fastest athlete did not become an Olympic champion. He was given literally divine honors. He was crowned with a laurel wreath and received as an award an olive branch. The winner had the right to establish his own marble statue near the stadium.

Over time, the program of the Olympic Games expanded. The competitions consisted of 24 divisions; in 18 adults took part, in 6 - boys. Pausanias has left us the following list of competitions:

  1. running at three different distances,
  2. fight,
  3. fist fight,
  4. Rystaniya on chariots, harnessed by four or a pair of horses or mules,
  5. horse racing,
  6. running in arms,
  7. jumps, in which the rider was supposed to jump to the ground and run after the horse,
  8. a contest of heralds and trumpeters.

There was also a kind of program that emphasized the desire for the harmonious development of ancient athletes - the pentatlon, the pentathlon, which included running, throwing a disc and a spear, jumping in length and fighting.

Cyclists of the French national team, 1896

Cyclists of the French national team Leon Flaman (right) and Paul Masson. The Olympic Games in Athens, 1896.

According to Pausanius, until 472 BC all the competitions took place on the same day, and later were distributed for all the days of the holiday. Judges who watched the competition and awarded awards to the winners were called Hellanodics, they were nominated by lot from the Eleans and guided the passage of the whole holiday. They wore purple clothes and had special places on the stage. Under their command was a police detachment. For 30 days, all those who wanted to compete were supposed to show their art before the Hellenodics in the Olympic gymnasium. The order of the competition was announced to the public by means of a white signboard. Before the contest, everyone wishing to participate in it was drawn lots to determine the order in which they would go out to fight, after which the herald declared publicly the name and country of the contestant.

In total, 293 ancient Olympiads took place, they were held without interruption for 1168 years and were banned in 394 AD by the decree of the Roman Emperor Theodosius the First as pagan entertainment. In 522 AD. Olympia and all its beautiful buildings were destroyed by a strong earthquake and for a long time covered with earth.

Only in 1829 the French managed to find the remains of Olympic facilities and a number of items that had great artistic and cognitive value.

These works inspired the young French scientist Baron Pierre de Coubertin - he expressed and substantiated the idea of the revival of the ancient Olympic Games. And on April 6, 1896, Athens hosted the first Olympic Games of our time. At the reconstructed marble stadium Panathinaikos 80 thousand spectators gathered and the Greek king announced the games of the first Olympiad open in 1502 after the Emperor Theodosius forbade their holding.

In Athens, 311 athletes from 13 countries of the world came to Australia, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Denmark, USA, France, Chile, Switzerland, Sweden. In the first Olympiad, as in ancient Greece, only men had the right to participate. The Greek team was the largest, accounting for about 70 percent of all participants, and the United States represented only 14 people. The Russian team was preparing for the Olympic Games, but did not find the money for the trip. The greatest amount of "gold" - 11 medals - was won by Americans, and the total number of medals - 46 Greek athletes.

In the program of the Games there were nine kinds of sport - classic wrestling, cycling, gymnastics, athletics, swimming, shooting, tennis, weightlifting and fencing. The first in the new history of the Olympic champion was the American James Conolly, who won a triple jump. The focus was on marathon running. At the start 46 runners left, most of whom were Greeks. The first in the stadium to ring bells and cannon salute finished the poor shepherd from the village of Maruza Spiridon Luis. On the path ran two princes, lifted the winner on his shoulders and under the roar of an enthusiastic crowd brought into the royal box. The King embraced and kissed the dusty shepherd, immediately put on his neck the highest order of Greece. The court ladies tore off their rings and diamond necklaces and threw them to the triumphant. He was presented with a two-story house, ten cows, thirty sheep.

After the success of the first Olympics, Games were held regularly every four years in a leap year. However, unlike Ancient Greece, where wars ceased for the duration of the Olympic Games, in the modern world several Olympics did not take place because of world wars. In 1916, the 6th Olympiad in Berlin was canceled, in 1940 the Olympic Games in Helsinki were not held, and in 1944 - the 13th Olympic Games in London. However, the number of Olympics that have not even taken place is not withdrawn from the general numbering of the Games, and therefore, following the 5 Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912, the Games in Antwerp in 1920 were numbered as seventh and not sixth. Similarly, after the 11th Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936, the Games in London in 1948 were considered not 12, but 14. For this reason, the Games of 2012 in London were 30, not 27.

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