Olympic Games

Olympic Games

(Olympics) – the largest modern international complex sports competitions, held every four years. Summer Olympic Games are held since 1896 (only during World Wars these competitions were not held). The Winter Olympic Games, established in 1924, were originally held in the same year as the summer ones. But in 1994 it was decided to move the time of the Winter Olympic Games for two years relative to the time of the Summer Olympics.

According to the Greek myths, the Olympics was established by Hercules after the successful completion of one of the glorious exploits: purification of the Augean stables. According to another version, these competitions marked the successful return of the Argonauts, who, at Hercules’ insistence, swore to each other in eternal friendship. In order to celebrate this event with dignity, a place was chosen over the river Alpheus, where the temple was later erected to the god Zeus. There are also legends telling that Olympia was founded by an oracle named Yam, or by the mythical hero Pelops (the son of Tantalus and the ancestor of Hercules, the king of Elis), who won the chariot race of Enomai, king of the city of Pisa.

Olympic Games

Modern archaeologists believe that competitions like the Olympic ones were held in Olympia (western Peloponessus) in the 9th-10th centuries. BC. And the most ancient document, which describes the Olympic Games, dedicated to the god Zeus, is dated 776 BC. According to historians, the reason for such a high popularity of sports competitions in Ancient Greece is extremely simple – the country at that time was divided into small city-states, constantly at war with each other. In such conditions, both soldiers and free citizens were forced to devote a lot of time to training, the purpose of which was the development of strength, dexterity, endurance, etc., in order to defend their independence and win the battle.

List of Olympic sports in the beginning consisted of only one discipline – a short distance race – 1 stage (190 meters). Runners lined up on the starting line in full growth, stretching their right hand forward, and waiting for the signal of the judge (Ellanodika). If one of the athletes was ahead of the starting signal (ie, a false start), he was punished – the judge beat the offending athlete with a heavy stick for this purpose. Somewhat later, there were competitions in running for long distances – in 7 and 24 stages, as well as running in full combat armament and running after a horse.

In 708 BC. in the program of the Olympic Games appeared throwing a spear (the length of a wooden spear was equal to the growth of an athlete) and struggle. This sport was distinguished by rather cruel rules (for example, footsteps were allowed, the enemy was caught by the nose, lip or ear, etc.) and was extremely popular. The winner was declared a fighter who managed to thrash the opponent three times to the ground.

In 688 BC. The list of Olympic sports included a fist fight, and in 676 BC. added a contest on chariots harnessed by a four or a pair of horses (or mules). Initially, the owner of the team himself had to manage the animals, later for this purpose it was allowed to hire an experienced driver (regardless of this the wreath of the winner was received by the chariot owner).

Somewhat later, competitions in long jump began in the Olympics, and the athlete after a small run had to push off with both feet and sharply throw his hands forward (in each hand the jumper held a weight that should have been like him to carry him along). Also in the list of Olympic competitions were the competitions of musicians (harpists, heralds and trumpeters), poets, orators, actors and playwrights. Initially, the festival lasted one day, later – 5 days. However, there were occasions when the celebrations dragged on for a whole month.

To ensure the safety of the Olympiad participants, three kings: Cleoshenes (from Pisza), Iphit (from Alice), and Lycurgus (from Sparta) concluded an agreement according to which during the games any military actions ceased – Elliss sent out messengers from Ellis (in 1992, the IOC tried to revive this tradition, urging all the peoples of the world to abandon military operations during the Olympics.) In 1993, it was proclaimed that the truce should be respected “from the seventh day before the official opening of the Games to the seventh day after the official closing of the Games. “The corresponding resolution was approved in 2003 by the UN General Assembly, and in 2005 the above-mentioned appeal was included in the Millennium Declaration signed by the leaders of many countries of the world.

Even when Greece lost its independence and became part of the Roman Empire, the Olympic Games continued to exist, until 394 AD, when Emperor Theodosius I banned this kind of competition, because he believed that the festival dedicated to the pagan god Zeus could not to be held in the empire, the official religion of which is Christianity.

The revival of the Olympics began about a hundred years ago, when in 1894 in Paris, at the initiative of French pedagogue and public figure Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the International Sports Congress approved the foundations of the Olympic Charter. It is this statute that is the main constitutional instrument that formulates the fundamental rules and the main values ​​of Olympism. The organizers of the first revived Olympics, wishing to give the competition “spirit of antiquity”, experienced many difficulties in choosing sports that could be considered Olympic. For example, football after long and heated disputes was excluded from the list of the I Olympiad competitions (1896, Athens), as IOC members claimed that this team game is very different from the ancient competitions – in fact in ancient times athletes performed exclusively in individual competitions.

Sometimes, quite exotic kinds of competitions were considered to be Olympic. For example, at the II Olympiad (1900, Paris), competitions were held for swimming under water and swimming with obstacles (athletes crossed a distance of 200 meters, diving under anchored boats and skirting submerged logs). At the VII Olympiad (1920, Antwerp) competed in throwing a spear with both hands, as well as in throwing a club. And at the V Olympiad (1912, Stockholm), athletes competed in long jump, height and triple jumps. For a long time competitions for tug-of-war and pushing of cobblestones (which only in 1920 was replaced by a core used today) were also considered an Olympic sport.

There were a lot of problems for the judges too, because in each country there were different rules of the competition at that time. Since in a short time it was impossible to make uniform requirements for all participants, athletes were allowed to act in accordance with the rules to which they are accustomed. For example, runners at the start could become anything (taking the position of a high start, with the right hand, extended forward, etc.). The position of “low start”, generally accepted today, at the first Olympics was taken by only one athlete – American Thomas Bark.

Olympic Games

The modern Olympic movement has the motto – “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (“Faster, Higher, Stronger”) and its emblem – five crossed rings (this sign was found by Coubertin on one of the Delphic altars). Olympic rings are a symbol of the unification of five continents (blue symbolizes Europe, black – Africa, red – America, yellow – Asia, green – Australia). Also, the Olympic Games have their own flag – a white cloth with Olympic rings. Moreover, the colors of the rings and the flag are selected in such a way that at least one of them is found on the national flag of any of the countries of the world. Both the emblem and the flag were adopted and approved by the IOC on the initiative of Baron Coubertin in 1913.

Baron Pierre Coubertin was the first to suggest the revival of the Olympic Games.

Indeed, thanks to the efforts of this man, the Olympics has become one of the largest sporting events in the world. However, the idea of ​​reviving this type of competition and putting them on the world stage was voiced a little earlier by two more people. Greek Evangelis Reserve in 1859 for his own money organized the Olympics in Athens, and the Englishman William Penny Brooks in 1881 invited the Greek government to hold competitions simultaneously in Greece and England. He also became the organizer of the games called “Olympic Memory” in Mach Wenlock, and in 1887 – the initiator of the nationwide British Olympic Games. In 1890, Coubertin attended the games at Mach Venloque and highly appreciated the idea of ​​an Englishman. Coubertin understood that through the revival of the Olympics, firstly, it is possible to raise the prestige of the capital of France (in Paris, according to Coubertin, the first Olympics was to take place, and only persistent protests from representatives of other countries led to the fact that the primacy was given to the homeland of the Olympic Games – Greece), and secondly, to improve the nation and create a powerful army.

The motto of the Olympics came up with Coubertin.

No, the Olympic motto, consisting of three Latin words – “Citius, Altius, Fortius!” was first pronounced by the priest, Frenchman Henri Didon at the opening ceremony of sports competitions in one of the colleges. Coubertin, who attended the ceremony, liked the words – in his opinion, this phrase expresses the goal of athletes around the world. Later, on the initiative of Coubertin, this statement became the motto of the Olympic Games.

Olympic flame marked the beginning of all the Olympics.

Indeed, in ancient Greece, the participants lit up fire on the altars of Olympia, to pay homage to the gods. Honor itself to ignite the fire on the altar to the god Zeus was given to the winner of the race competition – the most ancient and revered sport discipline. In addition, in many cities of Hellas there were competitions of runners with lit torches – Prometheus, dedicated to the mythical hero, the theologian and the defender of people Prometheus, who stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to people.

At the revived Olympic Games, fire was first lit at the 9th Olympiad (1928, Amsterdam), and, according to the researchers, it was not delivered, according to tradition, by the relay from Olympia.

In fact, this tradition was revived only in 1936 at the XI Olympiad (Berlin). Since then, the torchbearer race, delivering fire, lit by the sun in Olympia, to the venue of the Olympics is a solemn prologue of games. The Olympic flame overcomes thousands of kilometers to the place of competition, and in 1948 was even transported across the sea to give rise to the XIV Olympics held in London.

Olympics have never been the cause of conflict.

Unfortunately, they became. The fact is that the sanctuary of Zeus, during which games were usually held, was under the control of the city-state Ellis. According to historians, at least twice (in 668 and in 264 BC) the neighboring city of Pisa, using military force, attempted to seize the sanctuary, hoping thus to gain control over the Olympics. After some time, the judging panel was formed from the most revered citizens of the aforementioned cities, which assessed the performance of the athletes and decided which of them would win the laurel wreath of the winner.

In ancient times only the Greeks participated in the Olympiads.

Indeed, in ancient Greece, only Greek athletes had the right to participate in competitions – barbarians were barred from entering the stadium. However, this rule was abolished when Greece, which had lost its independence, became part of the Roman Empire – representatives of different nationalities began to participate in the competitions. Even the emperors condescended to participate in the Olympics.For example, Tiberius was a champion in chariot races, and Nero won in a competition of musicians.

In the ancient Olympics, women did not participate.

Indeed, in ancient Greece, women were not only forbidden to participate in the Olympic Games – beautiful ladies were not even allowed to enter the stands (except for the priestesses of the goddess of fertility of Demeter). Because sometimes especially gambling fans embarked on the trick. For example, the mother of one of the athletes – Kalipateria, – to watch the performance of her son, changed into a man and perfectly played the role of coach. According to another version, she participated in a contest of runners. Calypy was identified and sentenced to death – a brave athlete was to be thrown off the Tifi rock. But, considering that her husband was an Olympian (ie winner of the Olympics), and sons – winners in the competition of young men, the judges pardoned Calyptery. But the panel of judges (ellanodics) obliged athletes to continue to compete naked in the competition in order to avoid the recurrence of the above-described incident. At the same time, it should be noted that girls in ancient Greece by no means avoided doing sports, and they liked to compete. Because in Olympia there were games dedicated to Hera (the wife of Zeus). In these competitions (which, incidentally, men were not allowed), only girls participated, competing in wrestling, running and racing in chariots, which took place at the same stadium one month before or one month after the competition of male athletes. Also, female athletes took part in the Isthmian, Nemean and Pythian games.
Interestingly, in the Olympic Games, revived in the XIX century, at first, only male athletes competed. Only in 1900 women took part in competitions in sailing and equestrian sport, tennis, golf and croquet. And in the IOC members of the fair sex entered only in 1981.

The Olympics are only an opportunity to demonstrate strength and daring or a veiled way of selecting and training trained fighters.

Initially, the Olympic Games were one of the ways to honor the god Zeus, part of a grand cult festival, during which victims were brought to the Thunderer – from the five days of the Olympics two (the first and last) were solemnly dedicated to solemn processions and sacrifices. However, over time, the religious aspect receded into the background, and the political and commercial component of the competition became more and more vivid.

In ancient times, the Olympic Games contributed to the peaceful coexistence of peoples – after all, during the Olympic Truce, the wars ceased.

Indeed, the city-states that participated in the games ceased military operations for five days (this is how long the Olympics lasted), to enable athletes to freely reach the venue of the competition – in Elida. According to the rules, the participants of the competition and the fans did not have the right to fight each other, even if their states were at war with each other. However, this does not mean a complete cessation of hostility – after the end of the Olympic Games, hostilities resumed. Yes, and the disciplines themselves chosen for the competition, more like the training of a good fighter: throwing a spear, running in armor and, of course, an extremely popular pankration – street fight, limited only by the ban biting and squeezing the eyes of the opponent.

Olympic Games

The saying “The main thing is not victory, but participation” was invented by the ancient Greeks.

No, the author of the saying “The most important thing in life is not victory, but participation.” The essence of an interesting struggle was Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who in the XIX century revived the tradition of the Olympic Games. And in Ancient Greece victory was the main goal of the competing. In those days, even prizes were not awarded for the second and third places, and the losers, as the written sources testify, were very wounded by their defeat and tried to hide as soon as possible.

In ancient times, competitions were conducted fairly, only nowadays athletes use dope for the best results, etc.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. At all times, athletes, trying to win, used not entirely honest methods. For example, wrestlers rubbed the body with oil to make it easier to free themselves from seizing an opponent. Runners for long distances “cut corners” or substituted a step for the opponent. There have been attempts to bribe judges. The fraudulent athlete had to fork out – this money was used to make bronze statues of Zeus, which were installed along the road leading to the stadium. For example, in the II century BC, during one of the Olympics, 16 statues were installed, which indicates that even in ancient times, not all athletes conducted an honest game.

In Ancient Greece competed only for the sake of receiving a laurel wreath and unfading glory.

Of course, praise is a pleasant thing, and the native city met the winner with joy – an Olympian dressed in purple and crowned with a laurel wreath, did not drive through the gate, but through a specially prepared break in the city wall, which was immediately enclosed, “so that the Olympic glory did not leave the city. ” However, not only the laurel wreath and glorification were the goal of the competing. The very word “athlete” in translation from ancient Greek means “competing for the sake of prizes.” And the rewards that the winner received in those days were considerable. In addition to sculpture, established in honor of the winner or in Olympia at the sanctuary of Zeus, or at the birthplace of the athlete, and even deification, the athlete relied on a considerable sum for those times – 500 drachmas. In addition, he received a number of political and economic privileges (for example, exemption from all types of duties) and until the end of his days had the right to have a free lunch at the city government every day.

The decision on the end of the wrestlers’ match was taken by the judges.

This is not true. Both in the fight and in the fistfight, the fighter himself, who made the decision to surrender, raised his right hand with his thumb extended upwards – this gesture served as a signal for the end of the bout.

Laurel wreaths were crowned by athletes who won the competition.

This is really so – it was the laurel wreath that was the symbol of victory in ancient Greece. And they were crowned not only by athletes, but also by horses, who provided their master with a victory in the contest of chariots.

The inhabitants of Elis were the best athletes in Greece.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Despite the fact that there was an all-Hellenic shrine in the center of Elis, the temple of Zeus, during which the Olympics were held regularly, the inhabitants of this region used to be notorious, for they were prone to drunkenness, lies, pederasty and sloth, not meeting the ideal of a strong spirit and body of the population. However, in militancy and foresight, they can not refuse – having managed to prove to neighbors that Elida is a neutral country against which it is impossible to wage war, the Eleans, nevertheless, continued attacks on nearby areas in order to seize them.

Olympia was not far from the sacred Mount Olympus.

Wrong opinion. Olympus – the highest mountain in Greece, on the top of which, according to legend, the gods dwelt, is located in the north of the country. And the city of Olympia was located in the south – in Elida, on the island of Peloponessos.

In Olympia, in addition to ordinary citizens, the most famous athletes of Greece lived.

Only priests were permanently residing in Olympia, and athletes and fans, who flocked to the city in four years (the stadium was designed for the presence of 50,000 spectators!), Were forced to huddle in their own tents, huts, or even openly the sky. Only for the guests of honor was built leonidayon (hotel).

To measure the time taken for athletes to overcome the distance, the ancient Greece used the klepsydra, and the length of the jumps was measured in steps.

Wrong opinion.Devices for measuring time (solar or hourglass, klepsydra) were inaccurate, and the distances were most often measured “by eye” (for example, the stage is 600 feet or the distance a person can walk at a calm pace during the full sunrise, approximately in 2 minutes). Because neither the time of passing the distance, nor the length of the jumps did not matter – the winner was considered to be the one who came to the finish line first or jumped ahead of everyone.
Even today, to assess the achievements of athletes for a long time used visual observation – until 1932, when the X Olympic Games in Los Angeles for the first time used a stopwatch and photo finish, greatly facilitated the work of judges.

The length of the marathon distance from time immemorial was constant.

This is not true. In our time, a marathon (one of the disciplines of track and field athletics) is a race for a distance of 42 km 195 m. The idea of ​​organizing a race was offered by the French philologist Michelle Breal. As both Coubertin and the Greek organizers liked this proposal, the marathon was included in the list of Olympic sports one of the first. There is a road marathon, cross-country running and a half marathon (21 km 98 m). The marathon has been included in the Olympic Games since 1896 for men and since 1984 for women.
However, the length of the marathon distance has changed many times. The legend says that in 490 BC. the Greek warrior Phidippid (Philippines) ran without stopping from the Marathon to Athens (about 34.5 km) to please fellow citizens with the message of victory. According to another version, set forth by Herodotus, Phidippid was a messenger sent for reinforcement from Athens to Sparta and overcoming in two days the distance of 230 km.
At the first modern Olympics, the marathon race took place on a route of 40 km, laid between Marathon and Athens, but in the future the length of the distance varied in a fairly wide range. For example, at the IV Olympic Games (1908, London), the length of the route laid from Windsor Castle (the royal residence) to the stadium was 42 km 195 m. At the V Olympiad (1912, Stockholm) the length of the marathon distance was changed to 40 km 200 meters, and at the VII Olympiad (1920, Antwerp), the runners had to cover a distance of 42 km 750 m. The length of the course varied 6 times, and only in 1921 the final length of the marathon run was set at 42 km 195 m.

Olympic awards are given to athletes who showed the best results in competitions, and After a long struggle with worthy rivals.

This is true, but there are exceptions to this rule. For example, the gymnast Elena Mukhina, who several days before the Olympics injured her cervical vertebra in one of the training sessions, was awarded the Olympic Order for courage. And the IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch personally presented it to her personally. And at the III Olympiad (1904, St. Louis, Missouri), American sportsmen became the unconditional winners because of the almost complete absence of competition – many foreign athletes who did not have enough money simply could not take part in the competitions, giving the palm to the hosts of the Olympics .

Olympic Games

Equipment athletes can influence the results of the competition.

This is indeed so. For comparison: at the first modern Olympics, the form of athletes was made of wool (affordable and inexpensive material), shoes, the sole of which was supplied with special spikes, made of leather. It is clear that such a form brought quite a lot of inconvenience to the contestants. The swimmers suffered most of all – after all their costumes were sewn from cotton fabric, and, having weighed down with water, slowed down the speed of the athletes. It should also be mentioned that, for example, for jumpers in height with a pole, mats were not provided for – competing people were forced to think not only about how to overcome the bar, but also about the correctness of landing.
Today, thanks to the development of science and the emergence of new synthetic materials, athletes experience much less discomfort.For example, suits for athletes are designed to minimize the risk of muscle strain and reduce wind resistance, and the silk-lycra-based material from which sportswear is sewn is characterized by low hygroscopicity and ensures rapid evaporation of moisture. For swimmers, special tight suits with vertical stripes are also created, which allow to overcome water resistance as much as possible and develop the highest speed.
Sports shoes, specially designed to take into account the expected loads, also help to achieve high results. It was thanks to a new model of shoes equipped with internal chambers filled with carbon dioxide that the American decathlete Dave Johnson demonstrated the best result in the relay race in 4×400 m in 1992.

Only young, full-strength athletes participate in the Olympic Games.

Not necessary. The oldest participant of the Olympic Games – Oscar Swabn, a Swiss citizen, took second place in the shooting competitions at the VII Olympiad (1920, Antwerp) at the age of 72 years. Moreover, it was he who was selected to participate in the competitions of 1924, but for health reasons he had to refuse.

Most of all medals at the Olympics were won by athletes of the USSR (later – Russia).

No, in the overall standings (according to data on all the Olympic Games, until 2002 inclusive), the USA excels – 2,072 medals, including 837 gold, 655 silver and 580 bronze medals. The USSR in the second place – 999 medals, of which 388 gold, 317 silver and 249 bronze.

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