History of Olympic Games

Introduction

The world's greatest international sports games are known as the Olympic Games. The Olympic idea means friendship, fraternity and cooperation among the people of the world. The Olympic Movement proves that real peace can be achieved through sport. The Olympic emblem is five interlinked rings: blue, yellow, black, green and red. Any national flag contains at least one of these

colours. The original Olympic Games began in ancient Greece in 776 B.C. These games were part of a festival held every fourth year in honor of God Zeus at the place called Olympia. It was a great athletic festival, including competitions in wrestling, foot racing and chariot racing, rowing and others. The games were for men only. Greek women were forbidden not only to participate but also to watch the Olympics. The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896. Then they were resumed in London after the Second World War. Since then the Olympics are held every fourth year in different countries. The ancient Greeks had no winter sports. Only in 1924 the first Winter Olympic Games were held in France, Now they are being held regularly.

1. History of development of Olympic Games

The Olympics have a very long history. They began in 776 B. C. and took place every four years for nearly 1200 years at Olympia, in Greece. The decree of that time was that there should be no wars during the Olympiad. At first the Olympics lasted only five days and the competition was only in running. The Olympic programme grew as the games developed and a lot of sports events were added: long-distance, racing, wrestling, the pentathlon, horse-back racing, etc. The only prize for each contest was a garland of wild olive. The successful athlete, however, received other rewards. His friends and admirers showered him with flowers and costly gifts. His name was recorded in the Greek calendar. Poets sang his praises and sculptors carved his statue. An Olympian prize was regarded as the crown of human happiness. When the successful athletes returned home the wall to their city was broken in order to let them enter. So, they did not enter through the gate. The motto was "With such defenders we need no wall". The ancient Greek Olympic Games were for men only. Women, foreigners and slaves were forbidden to compete. When the Greeks lost their authority and became dependent on Rome the games almost stopped existing. They lasted till 394 A.D., when the Roman Emperor Theodosius I abolished them on the grounds that they were of pagan origin. Theodosius dismantled the Temple of Zeus and destroyed Olympia. Fifteen hundred years later, in 1894, a Frenchman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, persuaded people from fifteen countries to start the Olympic Games again. His words "It's a great honor to win, but still a greater honor to compete" became an Olympic motto. Only a dozen countries took-part then (285 competitors), but it was a start and a good one. It was not until the Fourth Olympics in London, in 1908 that women were allowed to compete for the first time. The Winter Olympics have been held since 1924. At first Scandinavians dominated in all kinds of Winter Sports, that's why the Flag of Norway was considered to be the flag of the Winter Games. At present the Olympic flag has a white background with five rings in the middle, in turquoise, yellow, black, green and red. No Olympic Games can start without the Olympic Flame, the symbol of the spirit of friendly competition, which comes from the classic temple on Olympia, Greece. The first of the modern series of games took place in Athens, in 1896. At the fourth Olympics, in 1908, in London, there were more than two thousand competitors, from twenty-one different countries. Since then, the number of athletes competing has increased each time. The International Olympic Committee at Lausanne, in Switzerland, decides where each Olympics will take place. They ask a city (not a country) to be host one city for the Winter Olympics and one for the Summer Olympic Games. Nearly 150 countries are represented in the International AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

2. The beginning and development of Olympic Games

2.1 Olympic Games-liquidators of wars and civil strife’s

Long ago ancient Greeks often waged wars. Small states suffered and lost much even if they did not take any side and stayed out of wars. The ruler of such a small state, Elis, wanted to live in peace with all neighbours. He was a good di plomat because his negotiations were successful and Elis was recognized a neutral state. To celebrate this achievement, he organized athletic games. In the beginning this feast lasted one day, but later a whole month was devoted to it. All wars and feuds were stopped by special heralds who rode in all directions of Greece. The games were held every four years in Olympia on the territory of Elis. The first games which later were called the Olympic Games were held about a thousand years before our era. Usually the Olympic Games began before the middle of the summer. Best athletes arrived from many Greek states to Olympia to compete in running, long jumps, throwing of discus and javelin and wrestling. In the course of time fist fighting (boxing) and chariot races were also included in the Games. All athletes took an oath that they had been preparing, well for the Games and promised to compete honestly and keep the rules of the sacred Olympics. Tbe athletes took part in all.kinds of competitions. Winners were called "olympionics".

2.2 Olympic Games in art

Winners were awarded olive wreaths and cups of olive oil. This tradition has survived. In our time sportsmen often get cups and wreaths for winning the first place in sports competitions. The olympionics of ancient Greece became very popular. Best craftsmen were chosen to make honourary cups, many poets wrote and recited in public poems about the best athletes. Sculptors made their statues which were put up at the birthplace of the winners. The Olympic Games were accompanied by arts festivals. Poets recited their poems, singers sang hymns, dancers danced and orators pronounced speeches — all this in honour of the sacred Games. Only men could take part in the Olympic Games. Women were not allowed even to watch the competitions at the stadium under the fear of death penalty. There was a single exception, when a woman coached her son and accompanied him to the stadium in men's clothes. That brave woman was spared the penalty because her son excelled in many events. Magnificent strong bodies inspired artists and sculptors. They painted wall pictures and made statues of marble and bronze, so now we can admire the corporal beauty of ancient and eternally young discus thrower, javelin bearer and others. The Olympic Games had been held for about eleven hundred years, until the emperor Theodosius banned them for religious reasons in 394 A. D.

2.3 The revival of the Olympic Games

The revival of the Olympic Games began long time afterwards, in 1892, when a young French teacher Pierre de Coubertiii made a public speech before the Union of French sports clubs in Paris. At that time many people in many countries practised various kinds of sports and games. They wanted to make friends and compete with sportsmen from other lands. Pierre de Coubertin understood the importance of sports which unified peoples of the world and served the cause of peace like in ancient time.

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