Olympic and Athletic Education

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The ancient Olympic Games  - The organisation of Games - The programme of Games - The athletic events - In honour of the Olympic champions - 
The revival of the Olympic Games

The Olympic games

The most important Pan-Hellenic Games in ancient Greece were taken place in Olympia
"As water is the most precious of all elements and as gold comes up as the most expensive among all the goods, and as, finally, the sun illuminates more than each other star, thus Olympia shines shading each other game" Pindar sings in his first Olympic ode.
According to the mythology, the gods first fought in Olympia. Jupiter beat Saturn in Wrestling, Apollo beat Hermes in Stadium and Mars in Boxing. Also the ancient sources report many heroes as founders of Games.
 The myth of Pelops belongs to Mycenaean mythology. After having beaten Oenomaos, Pelops founded games to honour him in order to be purified, but also in order to thank gods for the victory that was offered. Hippodameia founded feminine games to honour Hera, the so-called Herea. Therefore the games were established in Olympia. The introduction of games, according to other myths, is attributed to the demigod Hercules, 

Archaelogical site of Ancient Olympia

who founds the games of stadium but also the Armatodromia (Two-horse chariot race). Hercules brought the olive from the country of North, planted it in the Sanctuary, and determined the limits of Sacred Altis.

Sculptures from the pediment of the temple of  Zeus in Ancient Olympia, showing the preparation of the chariot race of Pelops with Oenomaos. (in the front east side)

Also according to other myths, the Ideos Hercules arrives in Olympia from Crete with his four brothers, -Daktylous or Kourites, fixes the length of stadium, organises single- course races with his brothers and 
wreathed the winner with an olive wreath. Nileas, Pelias but also Pissos –the famous hero of Pissatidas-are referred among the founders of the games. Finally Stravon considers that the games were organised by Oxyllos, the king of Herculides after their descent to Ilea  (after 1200 B.C.). Later they were reorganized by Ifitos, who contracted agreement (the sacred truce) with the king and legislator of Sparta Lykourgos and the king of Pissas Klisthenis. 
Therefore Olympia became a Pan-Hellenic centre. The ancient written sources report as year of beginning of the games the year 776 B.C. From that year the list of Olympic champions starts and is completed much later.The Pissates organised the games from 688 until the 572 B.C. In 570 B.C. Ilioi occupied the Pissa and controlled the organisation of the games. In the 5th century the games were in a great acme. During the Hellenistic era however, lost their initial character and they were transform to professional athletic events something that was consolidated during the Roman era.

Olympic Games 
Athens 1896

The big historical events that happened, during the centuries in Greece, influenced the athletic ideal of the Olympic games, so thathappened the   gradual fall of moral values, something that was worsened remarkably in 146 A.D., when the main Greece was yield by the roman state and the Ilioi lost their independence. In the 2nd century A.D., when the right of the Roman citizen was granted to all the residents of the Roman Empire, the Olympic games became international. Finally, they were abolished by Theodosius the first in 393 A.D. (293rd Olympiad), when he decreed that all idolatrous sanctuaries should be banned. The Olympic games forged the national, racial and spiritual unity of Greeks. 

They combined the deep religious spirit with the heroic past of Greeks, the highest degree of culture of body, mind and soul with the universal philosophical values and the promotion of individual and cities with the utmost ideal of freedom.
Their super national character also survives in the contemporary Olympic games, that after interruption of 15 centuries they were organised in Athens in 1896, and they are taken place by then every four years.

The ancient Olympic Games  - The organisation of Games - The programme of Games - The athletic events - In honour of the Olympic champions - 
The revival of the Olympic Games


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