Ancient Greek Olympic Games
Early Greeks respected the skills, the energy, and the style that were encouraged by athletes. Male citizens had a responsibility to the public and to themselves to be trained as an athlete, as it would provide useful when war would come. Young Greek men would have been provided with athletic training combined with military exercise. Competiveness and form were instilled in athletes at a young age, it was so relentless that only winners were applauded and losers were considered disgraced. The Greeks felt that their love for athletics distinguished themselves from the barbarians, so only Greeks could have participated in the great games, including the Ancient Greek Olympic Games, which was also considered a religious festival.
The first Ancient Greek Olympics ever held was in 776 BCE. It took place in a town called Olympia. The Olympic Games were not named after Olympia, but after Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus was named to honor the Greek god Zeus, the god of thunder and the king of gods. In those times, the Greeks had invented athletic games to compete in and held them in honor of the gods. Nearly all the events were held at the Panathinaiko Stadium.
The Olympic Games were held every four years. Wars were put on hold in surrounding cities and towns so the Greeks could travel to and from Olympia in peace. The winner received nothing more than a kotinos, a wreath of olive branches worn as a crown. The only participants of the games were freed men of Greek nationality, and only men and unmarried women were allowed to attend and watch the games.
The first Olympic Games were held in the nude, athletes did not wear clothing. The first winner of the games, Coroebus, was merely a humble baker from the Greek city-state of Elis, showing that the winners did not have to professional athletes. The first games only had one event though, a short 200 meter sprint called a stade. The Panathinaiko Stadium held around 45,000...