The olympic games
Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine
The Chernihiv Commercial technical school
Report of the topic: "The olympic games"
made by student
group OГТ-4: Chub
checked by: Ivjhak
The origin of the Olympic Games is linked
with many myths referred to in ancient sources, but in the historic years their
founder is said to be Oxylos whose descendant Ifitos later rejuvenated the
According to tradition, the Olympic Games
began in 776 B.C. when Ifitos made a treaty with Lycourgos the king and famous
legislator of Sparta and Cleisthenes the king of Pissa. The text of the treaty
was written on a disc and kept in the Heraion.
In this treaty that was the decisive event
for the developement of the sanctuary as a Panhellenic centre, the "sacred
truce" was agreed. That is to say the ceasing of fighting in all of the
Greek world for as long as the Olympic Games were on.
As a reward for the victors, the cotinus,
which was a wreath made from a branch of wild olive tree that was growing next
to the opisthodomus of the temple of Zeus in the sacred Altis, was established
after an order of the Delphic oracle.
The Olympics were held, after the
completion of four years during the month of July or August. The time inbetween
two Olympic Games was called an Olympiad. In the beginning the games lasted
only one day and comprised of only one event, the running of one Stadion, but
gradually more events were added resulting, towards the 5th century B.C., in
the games lasting for 5 days.
In total the Olympic Games consisted of 10
events: running, the pentathlon, jumping, discus, "ekebolon" javelin,
wrestling, boxing, the pancration, chariot racing, and horse racing.
All Greeks who were free citizens and had
not committed murder or heresy, had the right to take part in the Olympic
Games. Women were not entitled to take part, except as owners in the horse
races, while being strictly prohibited from watching the games.
The athletes presented themselves one month
before the games began at Elis, the organising town, but the organisation and
supervision for the upholding of the rules was carried out by the Hellanodikes,
who were chosen by lot from the citizens of Elis.
Two days after the beginning of the games,
the procession of the athletes and the judges started from Elis to arrive in
Olympia where it was received by the crowds who had come to watch the games.
The ceremonies began with the official oath
that was taken by the athletes at the altar of Horkios Zeus, in the
Bouleuterion, swearing that they would compete with honour and respect the
The victors enjoyed great honours and on
returning to their cities their compatriots pulled down part of the walls for
them to enter. They were also given special privileges and high office.
The great historical events that took place
in the passing of centuries within the Hellenic lands, took their toll even on
the athletic ideals of the Olympic Games, resulting in the gradual fall of the
moral values, that was especially felt from 146 A.D. when most of Greece fell
under the Romans and the Eleans lost their independence.
The institution of the Olympic Games lasted
for twelve continuous centuries and was abolished in 393 A.D. (the 293rd
Olympiad) by order of Theodosios I when the functioning of all idol worshiping
sanctuaries was forbidden, and in 426 A.D., during the reign of Theodosios II,
the destruction of the Altian monuments followed.
Revival Of The Olympic Games
Efforts for the revival of
the Olympic Games in modern times reached a peak at the end of the 19th century
with the instrumental contribution of the French Baron Pierre De Coubertin and
the Greek Dimitrios Vikelas. The first contemporary Olympic Games took place
with great glamour in 1896 in Athens, in the Panathenaic Stadium. The head
quarters of the International Olympic Academy are in Olympia now.
Also in Olympia is the altar of the Olympic
flame, which is transferred every four years to the city that hosts the Olympic
Games. The lighting of the flame takes place at the altar of the Temple of Hera
and it is done with the convergence of sunlight onto a metal reflector. This process
is part of a ritual combination that includes the prayer and the hymn to
Apollo. The high priestess enters the stadium holding the lit torch which she
then hands over to the first runner in order for it to start its long journey
to the ends of the earth
It is the oldest contest that took place in
Olympia. Until the 13th Olympiad (728 B.C.) when the games lasted for only one
day, it was the only event at the sanctuary. The athletes were running nude, in
an area whose length was determined at 600 feet (192.27m), that is one Stade .
It was this distance that gave its name to the area used for the performance of
the event. These areas, the stadiums, were situated on hillsides or in small
valleys, thus enabling the spectators to follow the events. Later and as the
crowd of spectators grew, artificial slopes were built and the spectators sat
on the ground.
The stadium at Olympia had a capacity of
45,000 spectators. Only men were allowed to watch the games with the exception
of the high priestess of Demeter Chamyne. The start and duration of the stadium
race were specified by clear rules and there were set penalties for athletes
who broke them. The rules were clear for all the events and for the duration of
the games there were specific bodies, the Alytai, who kept the order in all the
areas of performance. The judges and those in charge of the games were the
Hellondikai, who at first were life members but then appointed by lot from the
There are no records of the achievements of
the athletes during Archaic times as there were no means of the keeping of
time. What was important was to be the first amongst the other athletes of the
event, and receive the honour and the glory that followed such a distinction.
Also taking place in Olympia were the
Heraia, athletic games for women in which young girls from Elis partook. These
games were held every four years independently of the Olympic games. The women
ran wearing their hair loose, dressed in short tunics.
The pentathlon was a combination of heavy
and light events. It included jumping, running, javelin, discus and wrestling.
The pentathlon was considered to be a very important event because the athlete
had to combine many qualities and skills of the body. In the Olympic Games
running and wrestling were conducted separately, while the other three events
were independent. Jason was, according to mythology, the inventor of the
It is similar to the long jump. The athlete
jumped into a pit holding halters in his hands. It was accompanied by flute
An event known from Homeric poems and one
that the Greeks loved most. It was part of the pentathlon. A fleeting moment of
discus throwing is captured in the famous statue of the Discus-thrower by
Myron, a copy of which can be seen in Athens, opposite the Panathinaic Stadium.
One of the favorite events of many mythical
heroes. Seperated into "ekebolon" javelin throwing which was judged
by the distance the javelin was thrown, and the "stochastikon"
javelin throwing where the javelin was thrown at a specific target.
It is refered to for the first time in
Homer's Labours for Patroclos. It was one of the pentathlon events but also
independent in the Panhellenic games.
A combination of wrestling and boxing, it
is praised by Philostratos as the best and the most worthy event for men in the
The horse races
The hippodrome, a space used for the horse
races differed in size from place to place. An aristocratic event, the horse
races comprised of various events and were conducted with horses, chariots and
The most spectacular event was the quadriga
race, an event in which the most prominent historic personalities had competed.
The hippodrome was the main place for exhibiting wealth and political strength