The Olympic Movement is named after the city of its origin: Olympia. The Games were one of the many ways that the Greeks worshiped their gods. Olympia was one of the oldest religious centers in Ancient Greece, and played host to all the ancient games. Vitally, it was easily accessible by sea as athletes travelled from Greek colonies in Spain and the Black Sea to compete in the Games.

The origins of the Olympics are shrouded in myth and legend. The first record of an Olympic Games dates from 776 BC, although the games could have taken place long beforehand. Running was the only event at the first 13 recorded Olympic Games, but further events were added over the years and eventually included jumping, discus, wrestling, boxing, pankration (a primitive martial art), horse riding and chariot racing. The main event of the ancient games was the pentathlon.

The Olympic Truce was established in Ancient Greece with the signing of a treaty between three kings. The truce prohibited combat between the Greek city states allowing athletes and others to travel safely to and from Olympia for the Games.

The ancient Olympic Games reached their zenith in the sixth and fifth centuries BC before petering out as the Romans grew more influential. Olympian Games were sporadically revived from the late 18th century onwards. A French baron, Pierre de Coubertin, was inspired by the Much Wenlock Olympian Society to revive the Olympics as an international spectacle. He founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. Two years later Athens hosted the first modern Olympic Games.


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