Skip to main content Text Only version of this page
BBC
Home
TV
Radio
Talk
Where I Live
A-Z Index
Games
Games
Chat
Chat
Vote
Vote
Win
Win
Quiz
Quiz
Club
Club
 Homepage
 UK
 World
 Sport
 Music
 TV/Film
 Animals
 Sci/Tech
 Weather
 Pictures
 Find Out
 The Team

Contact Us
Help
Teachers





  Olympic Games history
Updated 05 August 2004, 17.41
Greek statue in the British Museum
The Olympic Games were named after the village of Olympia in Greece where they originally took place in 776 BC.

Athletes from the Greek world competed in a range of events, including athletics, wrestling and chariot racing every four years until 393 AD. Though the prizes were modest, the honour of winning was great.

In 393 AD, the emperor Theodosius abolished the Olympics because he thought they were not religious enough.

Birth of the modern Olympics

A Frenchman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin campaigned for years to revive the Olympics and in 1896 his dream came true: The first modern Olympics Games took place in Athens in 1896 at the Panathenean Stadium.

Although Athens is the birthplace of the Olympics, this year's Games will only be the second time the modern Olympics have been held there since 1896.

The mascots for the 2004 Olympics
This year's official mascots are named after Greek Gods; Phevos, the god of light and Athena the goddess of wisdom and patron of the city of Athens.

The original marathon

The marathon was first run in 1896. It celebrates the legendary feat of a Greek soldier who, in 490 BC, is supposed to have run about 25 miles from Marathon to Athens with the news that the Persians had been defeated, before keeling over and dying.

In 1924, the Olympic marathon distance became 42,195 metres (26 miles 385 yards). This is based on the distance between Windsor Castle and the royal box in the London stadium; the route of the marathon during the 1908 Olympics.

Before the 1970s, only amateurs officially took part in the Games but since that time professional athletes have joined in.

The Paralympics Games, for athletes with disabilities, were first held in Rome in 1960.

The first separate winter Olympic Games were held in Chamonix-Mont Blanc, France in 1924.


 

E-mail this page to a friend



Full Sport Section
Also in Sport now:
Spurs make Martin Jol new manager
Manchester derby ends with draw
Radcliffe makes winning comeback
Olympic Games 2004
Full section
ELLIE'S DIARY
PRESS PACK
FEATURES
PICTURE GALLERIES
QUIZZES
GAMES
MESSAGE BOARDS
Choose a sport  
Choose a GB athlete  
Choose a world athlete  
Arsenal Vote: who will win the Premiership?
Are you going to the Olympics? Are you going to the Olympics in August?
Play Girls v Boys Football! Challenge! Try out Girls v Boys Football
© BBC Back to top^^
Homepage | UK | World | Sport | Music | TV/Film | Animals | Sci/Tech | Weather
Pictures | Find Out | The Team | Games | Chat | Vote | Win | Quiz | Club