Реферат: The olympic games

Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine

The Chernihiv Commercial technical school

Report of the topic: «The olympic games»

made by student

group OГТ-4:                                                                      ChubJulia

checked by:                                                                          IvjhakN.Y.

Chernihiv 2004

The origin of the Olympic Games is linkedwith many myths referred to in ancient sources, but in the historic years theirfounder is said to be Oxylos whose descendant Ifitos later rejuvenated thegames.

According to tradition, the Olympic Gamesbegan in 776 B.C. when Ifitos made a treaty with Lycourgos the king and famouslegislator of Sparta and Cleisthenes the king of Pissa. The text of the treatywas written on a disc and kept in the Heraion.

In this treaty that was the decisive eventfor the developement of the sanctuary as a Panhellenic centre, the «sacredtruce» was agreed. That is to say the ceasing of fighting in all of theGreek world for as long as the Olympic Games were on.

As a reward for the victors, the cotinus,which was a wreath made from a branch of wild olive tree that was growing nextto the opisthodomus of the temple of Zeus in the sacred Altis, was establishedafter an order of the Delphic oracle.

The Olympics were held, after thecompletion of four years during the month of July or August. The time inbetweentwo Olympic Games was called an Olympiad. In the beginning the games lastedonly one day and comprised of only one event, the running of one Stadion, butgradually more events were added resulting, towards the 5th century B.C., inthe games lasting for 5 days.

In total the Olympic Games consisted of 10events: running, the pentathlon, jumping, discus, «ekebolon» javelin,wrestling, boxing, the pancration, chariot racing, and horse racing.

All Greeks who were free citizens and hadnot committed murder or heresy, had the right to take part in the OlympicGames. Women were not entitled to take part, except as owners in the horseraces, while being strictly prohibited from watching the games.

The athletes presented themselves one monthbefore the games began at Elis, the organising town, but the organisation andsupervision for the upholding of the rules was carried out by the Hellanodikes,who were chosen by lot from the citizens of Elis.

Two days after the beginning of the games,the procession of the athletes and the judges started from Elis to arrive inOlympia where it was received by the crowds who had come to watch the games.

The ceremonies began with the official oaththat was taken by the athletes at the altar of Horkios Zeus, in theBouleuterion, swearing that they would compete with honour and respect therules.

The victors enjoyed great honours and onreturning to their cities their compatriots pulled down part of the walls forthem to enter. They were also given special privileges and high office.

The great historical events that took placein the passing of centuries within the Hellenic lands, took their toll even onthe athletic ideals of the Olympic Games, resulting in the gradual fall of themoral values, that was especially felt from 146 A.D. when most of Greece fellunder the Romans and the Eleans lost their independence.

The institution of the Olympic Games lastedfor twelve continuous centuries and was abolished in 393 A.D. (the 293rdOlympiad) by order of Theodosios I when the functioning of all idol worshipingsanctuaries was forbidden, and in 426 A.D., during the reign of Theodosios II,the destruction of the Altian monuments followed.

The national, racial and spiritual unity ofthe Greeks was forged thanks to the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games combinedthe deep religious spirit along with the heroic past of the Greeks thusunifying to the highest degree body, mind and soul according to universal andphilosophical values, and so projecting the indivdual as well as the cities,through the highest ideal of freedom.


Revival Of The Olympic Games

Efforts for the revival ofthe Olympic Games in modern times reached a peak at the end of the 19th centurywith the instrumental contribution of the French Baron Pierre De Coubertin andthe Greek Dimitrios Vikelas. The first contemporary Olympic Games took placewith great glamour in 1896 in Athens, in the Panathenaic Stadium. The headquarters of the International Olympic Academy are in Olympia now.

Also in Olympia is the altar of the Olympicflame, which is transferred every four years to the city that hosts the OlympicGames. The lighting of the flame takes place at the altar of the Temple of Heraand it is done with the convergence of sunlight onto a metal reflector. This processis part of a ritual combination that includes the prayer and the hymn toApollo. The high priestess enters the stadium holding the lit torch which shethen hands over to the first runner in order for it to start its long journeyto the ends of the earth

The Events

The foot-race

It is the oldest contest that took place inOlympia. Until the 13th Olympiad (728 B.C.) when the games lasted for only oneday, it was the only event at the sanctuary. The athletes were running nude, inan area whose length was determined at 600 feet (192.27m), that is one Stade.It was this distance that gave its name to the area used for the performance ofthe event. These areas, the stadiums, were situated on hillsides or in smallvalleys, thus enabling the spectators to follow the events. Later and as thecrowd of spectators grew, artificial slopes were built and the spectators saton the ground.

The stadium at Olympia had a capacity of45,000 spectators. Only men were allowed to watch the games with the exceptionof the high priestess of Demeter Chamyne. The start and duration of the stadiumrace were specified by clear rules and there were set penalties for athleteswho broke them. The rules were clear for all the events and for the duration ofthe games there were specific bodies, the Alytai, who kept the order in all theareas of performance. The judges and those in charge of the games were theHellondikai, who at first were life members but then appointed by lot from theElean citizens.

There are no records of the achievements ofthe athletes during Archaic times as there were no means of the keeping oftime. What was important was to be the first amongst the other athletes of theevent, and receive the honour and the glory that followed such a distinction.

Also taking place in Olympia were theHeraia, athletic games for women in which young girls from Elis partook. Thesegames were held every four years independently of the Olympic games. The womenran wearing their hair loose, dressed in short tunics.


The pentathlon was a combination of heavyand light events. It included jumping, running, javelin, discus and wrestling.The pentathlon was considered to be a very important event because the athletehad to combine many qualities and skills of the body. In the Olympic Gamesrunning and wrestling were conducted separately, while the other three eventswere independent. Jason was, according to mythology, the inventor of thepentathlon.


It is similar to the long jump. The athletejumped into a pit holding halters in his hands. It was accompanied by flutemusic.


An event known from Homeric poems and onethat the Greeks loved most. It was part of the pentathlon. A fleeting moment ofdiscus throwing is captured in the famous statue of the Discus-thrower byMyron, a copy of which can be seen in Athens, opposite the Panathinaic Stadium.


One of the favorite events of many mythicalheroes. Seperated into «ekebolon» javelin throwing which was judgedby the distance the javelin was thrown, and the «stochastikon»javelin throwing where the javelin was thrown at a specific target.


It is refered to for the first time inHomer's Labours for Patroclos. It was one of the pentathlon events but alsoindependent in the Panhellenic games.


One of the oldest events, as shown by therepresentation of two children boxing on the mural from Acrotiri in Thera, andthe early reference to the event by Homer.


A combination of wrestling and boxing, itis praised by Philostratos as the best and the most worthy event for men in theOlympic games.

The horse races

The hippodrome, a space used for the horseraces differed in size from place to place. An aristocratic event, the horseraces comprised of various events and were conducted with horses, chariots andquadriga.

The most spectacular event was the quadrigarace, an event in which the most prominent historic personalities had competed.The hippodrome was the main place for exhibiting wealth and political strengthduring antiquity.

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