History of Olympic Games

In 2004 the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad returned to Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the modern Olympic in 1896 and home of the ancient Olympics. The ancient Olympic Games, so called because they were originally held on the plains of Olympia, can be accurately traced back to July 776 BC, when Coroibos, a cook from Elis, won the foot race, though their origin dates from perhaps as early as c. 1370 BC. They attracted famous competitors such as Socrates, Pythagoras, Aristotle and Hippocrates. Events included pentathlon, running, discus, javelin, shot put, jumping, wrestling, boxing, pankration (an early form of martial art of which Plato was a double winner) and various equestrian events. The ancient Games were terminated by an order issued in Milan in AD 393, by Theodosius I, `the Great' (c. 346-95), Emperor of Rome, which banned such 'pagan cults'. At the instigation of Pierre de Fredi, Baron de Coubertin (1863-1937), the modern Olympics were inaugurated in Athens on 6 April 1896 with just 241 participants representing 14 different countries competing in 43 events. The first winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France in 1924 and were held the same year out of every four as the summer games until 1992. Since then the International Olympic Committee took the decision to alternate the winter and summer games every two years meaning the winter Olympics have been held every four years since 1994.