Ancient Olympic Games
According to historic records, the first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 BC. They were dedicated to the Olympian Gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia, famous for its magnificent temples of the gods Zeus and Hera. They initially had a religious character and combined a number of ancient sporting events, many of which were based on ancient Greek myths.
The ancient Games actually
occupied an important position in the life of our ancestors. An Olympiad was a time unit, measuring the four-year interval between two Games. Participants came to compete from every corner of the Greek world aiming at the ultimate prize: an olive wreath and a "heroic" return to their city-states. But apart from the glorious victory, it was the Olympic values themselves which accorded special meaning to the Games: noble competition and the effort to combine body, will, and mind in a balanced whole.
As the Games
developed, so did a set of procedures such as a standardised schedule of events and the practice of the Olympic Truce. They continued for nearly 12 centuries, until Emperor Theodosius decreed, in 393 AD, that all such 'pagan cults' be banned. He asserted that the Games placed an excessive public focus on athletic and spiritual affairs and abolished them.