THE OLYMPIC GAMES
In the ancient times, four great game festivals were held on Greek land: The lsthmians, The Nemeans, The Pythians and the Olympic Games Part of a religious festival, the Olympic Games were held every four years at Olympia. The four-year interval was called an Olympiad, and was the system upon which time in ancient Greek history was calculated. The games were so important that even wars stopped at the time they were held.
Precisely when the games were established is not known. However, archaeological findings indicate that the Sanctuary of Olympia was inhabited as early as the 3rd millennium BC. The year 776 BC marked the start of the historical period of the historical period of the Olympic games. It was the year of the first recorded Olympiad, in which the Elean runner Coroibos was the victor.
The winner's prize was a crown made from a wild olive branch. From then on the Olympic Games were regularly celebrated for 1,168 years (776 B.C.-393 A.D.), during which 293 Olympiads took place. They were abolished by Emperor Theodosius I in 394 AD
The Games were revived in 1896 to promote understanding and friendship among nations. The first modern games were held in Athens, Greece. Young men and women come from all over the world to compete in various sports and represent their country. They live in an Olympic Village at the site of the games.
The Olympic Games are organized and governed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It sets the general program, chooses the city where the games are to be held, and determines the standards of amateurism. Each participating country has a National Olympic Committee that is responsible for arranging the participation of the nation's athletes in the games.
The opening ceremony of each Olympiad is held in a major stadium. The President of the host nation usually officiates. Led by athletes from Greece, all athletes march around the stadium in the parade of Nations. Then, facing the Olympic flag, the athletes take the Olympic Oath:
"We swear that we will take part in these Olympic Games in the true spirit of sportsmanship in these Olympic Games and that will Respect and bide by the rules that govern them for the glory of sport and the honor of our country."
Since 1936 the Olympic Flame has been carried to the games as symbol of peace, friendship and brotherhood among people. The Olympic Flame is lit in the ruins of ancient Olympia in Greece, by the rays of the sun using a concave mirror made of metal, and from there, by a relay of athletes, is brought to the place where the Games are held. When the Games are completed, The Olympic Flag is lowered and the Flame extinguished.
THE ORIGIN OF MARATHON
Marathon is a plain in Greece about 25 miles from Athens on which one of the decisive battles of history was fought in 490 BC. This battle was between the Persians and the Athenian army. The Greeks led by General Miltiades, destroyed the Persians and drove them back to their ships. As the defeated Persian fleet sailed away, Miltiades feared that the ships would attack Athens by see. He was afraid that the city might surrender without knowing of the victory at Marathon. General Miltiadis send Pheidippides to carry the news of victory to the Athenians.
Pheidippides raced the 25 miles to Athens and gasped out "Rejoice, we conquer', then fell to the ground dead. Thus, "Marathon" is now used to identify long distance races of 25 miles or more.