|In the ancient times, four
great game festivals were held on Greek land: The Isthmians, The Nemeans,
The Pythians and The Olympic Games. Part of a religious festival, the
Olympic Games were held every four years at Olympia. The four year
interval was called an Olympiad, and was the system upon which time
in ancient Greek history was calculated. The games were so important that
even wars were stopped at the time they were held.
The first Olympic Games were held in 776
B.C. At first, only one race (the sprint) was run. Later, the discus
and javelin throw, broad jumping and wrestling were added. The Olympic
Games were held for more than 1,000 years. They were abolished by the
Byzantine Emperor Theodosius in 394 A.D.
The Games were revived in 1896 to
promote understanding and friendship among nations. The first modern games
were held in Athens, Greece. Young men and women come from all over the
world to compete in various sports and represent their country. They live
in an Olympic Village at the site of the games.
The Olympic Games are organized and
governed by the International Olympic Commitee (IOC). It sets the
general program, chooses the city where the games are to be held, and
determines the standards of amateurism. Each participating country has a
National Olympic Commitee that is responsible for arranging the
participation of the nation's athletes in the games.
The opening ceremony of each Olympic
Games is held in a major stadium. The president of the host nation usually
officiates. Led by athletes from Greece, all athletes march around the
stadium in the parade of Nations. Then, facing the Olympic Flag, the
athletes take the Olympic Oath:
We swear that we will take part
in these Olympic Games
in the true spirit of sportsmanship, and that we will
respect and abide by the rules that govern them, for
the glory of sport and the honor of our country.
The Olympic Flame is lit with a
torch that is brought by a relay of athletes from the ruins of ancient
Olympia in Greece. When the Games are completed, the flag is lowered
and the flame extinguished.