Olympic Games

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Identities of the Olympic Games 1932 to 2020

The Olympic Games are competitions in different sports that originated in Ancient Greece and were revived in the late 19th century. They are held every four years. In 1924, the Winter Games were sanctioned specifically for winter sports. Originally, this occurred in the same year as the Summer Games, but more recently they were held in 1992 and again in 1994 and thereafter every four years; the Summer Games maintain their original four-year cycle. Before the 1970s the Games were officially limited to competitors with amateur status, but in the 1980s many events were opened to professional athletes.


Olympia (Greece)
Torch relay 1936; From 20 July until 1 August 1936 over a duration of 12 days and eleven nights 3,331 runners with all together 3,840 torches succesfully brought the torch to the Lustgarten in Berlin and the last torch to the Olympic Stadium (German: Olympiastadion Berlin). First torch bearer was Greek runner Konstantinos Kondylis, last torch bearer was German runner Fritz Schilgen (1906–2005).

"The most significant and striking of the ceremonial aspects connected with the Olympic Games is the Olympic Fire. Ignited during the opening ceremony, it burns day and night at the Olympic Stadium and other scenes of competition during the period of the Games. Only when the Olympic Flag is lowered at the end of the closing ceremony is the Fire extinguished."
The Olympic arena and swimming stadium at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Art deco sculpture of a standing male nude athlete raising the Olympic Salute by the French artist Albert David (1925); because of the great similarity to the "German salute", it was not used again after WWII.

The original Olympic Games (Greek: Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες; Olympiakoi Agones) began in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece, and was celebrated until AD 393. Interest in reviving the Olympic Games proper was first shown by the Greek poet and newspaper editor Panagiotis Soutsos in his poem "Dialogue of the Dead" in 1833.

Evangelos Zappas sponsored the first modern international Olympic Games in 1859. He paid for the refurbishment of the Panathinaiko Stadium for Games held there in 1870 and 1875. This was noted in newspapers and publications around the world including the London Review, which stated that "the Olympian Games, discontinued for centuries, have recently been revived! Here is strange news indeed ... the classical games of antiquity were revived near Athens".

The International Olympic Committee was founded in 1894 with the initiative of a French nobleman, Pierre Frédy, Baron de Coubertin. The first of the IOC's Olympic Games were the 1896 Summer Olympics, held in Athens, Greece. Participation in the Olympic Games has increased to include athletes from nearly all nations worldwide. With the improvement of satellite communications and global telecasts of the events, the Olympics are consistently gaining supporters. The Summer Olympics of 2004 was held in Athens, the Winter Olympics 2006 in Turin (84 events in 7 sports). The games of 2008 were in Beijing (also the 2022 Winter Games, although strict COVID-19 regulations prevented any typ of charm) and were comprised of 302 events in 28 sports.

Ancient Olympics

There are many myths and legends surrounding the origin of the ancient Olympic Games. The most popular legend describes that Heracles was the creator of the Olympic Games, and built the Olympic stadium and surrounding buildings as an honor to his father Zeus, after completing his 12 labors. According to that legend he walked in a straight line for 400 strides and called this distance a "stadion" (Greek: "Στάδιον")- (Roman: "stadium") (Modern English: "Stage") that later also became a distance calculation unit. This is also why a modern stadium is 400 meters in circumference length (1 stadium = 400 m). Another myth associates the first Games with the ancient Greek concept of ἐκεχειρία (ekecheiria) or Olympic Truce. The date of the Games inception based on the count of years in Olympiads is reconstructed as 776 BC, although scholars' opinions diverge between dates as early as 884 BC and as late as 704 BC.

From then on, the Games quickly became much more important throughout ancient Greece, reaching their zenith in the sixth and fifth centuries BC. The Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, contests alternating with sacrifices and ceremonies honouring both Zeus (whose colossal statue stood at Olympia), and Pelops, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia famous for his legendary chariot race, in whose honour the games were held. The number of events increased to twenty, and the celebration was spread over several days.

Winners of the events were greatly admired and were immortalized in poems and statues. The Games were held every four years, and the period between two celebrations became known as an 'Olympiad'. The Greeks used Olympiads as one of their methods to count years. The most famous Olympic athlete lived in these times: the sixth century BC wrestler Milo of Croton is the only athlete in history to win a victory in six Olympics.

The Games gradually declined in importance as the Romans gained power in Greece. When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, the Olympic Games were seen as a pagan festival and in discord with Christian ethics, and in 393 AD the emperor Theodosius I outlawed the Olympics, ending a thousand-year tradition.

During the ancient times normally only young men could participate. Competitors were usually naked, not only as the weather was appropriate but also as the festival was meant to be, in part, a celebration of the achievements of the human body. Upon winning the games, the victor would have not only the prestige of being in first place but would also be presented with a crown of olive leaves. The olive branch is a sign of hope and peace. Even though the bearing of a torch formed an integral aspect of Greek ceremonies, the ancient Olympic Games did not include it, nor was there a symbol formed by interconnecting rings. These Olympic symbols were introduced as part of the modern Olympic Games.

Torch relay

The Games of 1936 saw the introduction of the torch relay. A lit torch was carried from Olympia in Greece to the site of the Games in Berlin through seven countries – Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Germany, a total journey of 3,459 km (including the relays from Berlin to Kiel on 2 August 1936, 347 km, and from Berlin to Grünau on 7 August 1936, 37 km). The idea came from Dr. h. c. med. Carl Diem, the head of the organising committee ("Organisationskomitee für die XI. Olympiade Berlin 1936"), and was ratified by the IOC in 1934.[1] The torch relay was not always a fixture of the modern Olympics, which began in 1896.

Through the organization of the Olympic Torch Relay Run the Eleventh Olympic Games were introduced in a manner which in its impressiveness and significance could scarcely have been surpassed. For the first time in the history of the modern Games the Olympic Fire was ignited with a flame borne directly from the sanctuary of the ancient Festival. At its meeting in May, 1934 in Athens, the International Olympic Committee approved the proposal of the Secretary-General of the Organizing Committee to have this flame carried by relay runners from Olympia to Berlin. The National Olympic Committee of Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany - the seven countries through which the flame would be carried - were in complete favour of this projekt and gladly cooperated in preparing for it. The entire course was dividet into stretches of 1,000 metres, and each of these was covered by a runner, who then passed the Olympic Fire to his successor. The Organizing Committee estimated that an average time of 5 minutes would be required for each 1,000 metres, and the National Olympic Commttees of the fifferent countries were authorized to make special provisions such as increasing the stretches in thinly populated sections or allowing more times for traversing difficult districts. None of the torches on the market at that time answered the requirements. Although a new torch would be ignited by each runner, the fact had to be taken into consideration that in case of an emergency a runner might be required to carry the same torch over a double stretch. It was therefore necessary to divise torches which would burn 10 minutes and which would not be affected by heat, rain, storms or falls. A magnesium torch was created which contained two fuses so that even should the burning part fall from the torch, the fuses would continue to glow and re-ignite it. The torches were encased in a reinforced covering in order to give them the required durability. The length of the torch including a cone-formed grip was 27.7 inches, its diameter 1.15 inches and its weight 1.5 pounds. The top of the torch consisted of a special inflammable substance so that it could be rapidly ignited when the flame was transferred from runner to runner. [...] A special commemoration diploma was designed for the participants in the Olympic torch relay run from Olympia to Berlin, this being created by the Berlin painter and graphic artist, Hönig. His design revealed the fire altar and Olympic rings in yellow-brown tones with the eagle as a background and the Olympic Bell in colourless embossing. Each certificate contained the facsimile signature of the President of the Organizing Committee and was inscribed with the name of the participant. The relationship between this torch relay run of the modern Olympic Games and the ancient festival was expressed in the brochures published in connection with this event, these being designed in an especially artistic manner. The reproduction of a Hellenic relief from the Palazzo Colonna in Rome was utilized for the cover, this having been generously permitted by the Prince of Colonna. The relief, which depicts two Erotes as torch bearers, was used by the creator of the Olympic Bell, Walter E. Lemcke, as the basis of his design.[2]

Following a hiatus in the Games for World War II, the torch relay might not have continued. But organizers of the first post-war Olympics, in London, resurrected the event, securing its place as an ongoing tradition. 2004, the torch relay led the runners "around the world" through 34 large cities.

Status Today

Despite the fact that National Socialist Germany rekindled the enthusiasm for the games, cultural marxism is strongly abound in it. The Olympics even have laws preventing anyone there for insulting homosexuals.[3]

See also

Olympic Games (selection)

External links