It all began in 776 BC, with a simple foot race of
about 200m held at Olympia in Greece.
four years from then athletes as well
poets and artists met there for a festival in honour of the god Zeus.
from foot racing, the event came
include wrestling, boxing and the pentathlon. Winners
became overnight heroes and
festival merited a permanent place in the Greek calendar to mark a span of four years
they called the Olympiad.
for nearly 1200 years, until AD
the Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius I
banned all such 'pagan' celebrations. A millennium and a
half later, a French baron began a campaign to recreate that spirit
good-natured but serious competition.
Baron pierre de Coubertin's family wanted
to become an officer in the French Army. But
de Coubertin believed that the cause of peace
be better served
a regular meeting of amateur, world-class athletes and dedicated his
realising his dream. During the 1890s he
speech after speech to international sports
last persuaded them to revive
the name and spirit of the ancient Olympic Games.
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