I don’t remember exactly when my fascination with the Olympic games started, but I do have a recollection of watching them with my grandmother. Grandma liked figure skating and it was a must-see event when she was around. I don’t think anyone else in my family is as obsessed with watching them as much as I am, which doesn’t really bother me as I binge-watch as much as I can.
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History of the Olympic games
Most people know the Olympic games as they are today. Some might remember the time when both summer and winter games were held in the same year, every four years until the early 1990s. Most probably don’t know too much about the original games held by ancient Greeks.
Ancient Olympic games
The ancient games date back to 776 B.C. Their whole purpose was to celebrate Zeus, the ruler of all Greek gods. Every four years, athletes from Greek city-states flocked to Olympia, Greece to compete. An Olympic Truce, enacted between the states for the games, ensured safe passage for the athletes. Needless to say, even in those days, politics were a key part of the attached to the games as the various city-states used them for personal gain. Some things never change.
Only freeborn Greek men were allowed to compete. Although, I’m surprised that they actually had enough of them, as all they did was fight in the years between. Nevertheless, the athletes competed in the nude and were all oiled up. I’m actually not quite sure how safe that was for a variety of reasons. Plus, wouldn’t they burn in the more sensitive areas?
The games lasted under the Roman rule till AD 393, when Roman emperor Theodosius I put an end to the celebrations.
The revival of the official Olympic games in 1896, marked the beginning of the games we know today. The modern games are open to athletes from all over the world, both men and women. Unlike the original games, they are split into summer and winter games, and until the early 1990s were held in the same year. Having them every two years definitely helps with the withdrawals.
The games have had their share of controversies over the years. From doping issues, boycotts and various scandals, there always seems to be something going on around the games and the International Olympic Committee. However, that doesn’t diminish the amazing performances and endurance of the athletes.
Summer vs winter games
While I enjoy watching both events, I must stay that I prefer the winter games. I’m not exactly sure why, but I love almost all the events. I definitely have my faves.
Favourite summer events
When it comes to summer games, I love everything gymnastics related. The rings, the vault and everything in between. I’m always amazed by the runners who continue to set records and push boundaries. I can’t even imagine doing hurdles without breaking my legs.
While I did track and field while in school, there was nothing that grabbed my attention enough to pursue it. I did relays and discuss, but that was the extent of my sports prowess.
Favourite winter events
I absolutely love the winter games. Maybe it’s because I was born during the winter, or maybe because I’ve always lived in places with lots of snow. I can stay glued to the screen and watch tirelessly as athletes fly through the air, glide on ice and push limits to the max.
It was the 2010 games in Vancouver that inspired me to try snowboarding. It’s been an amazing experience and one that I enjoy immensely. I would say that snowboarding is probably my favourite sport to watch, followed by skiing, high jump and then figure skating. I am also intrigued by luge, skeleton and bobsled, which offer a different type of thrill.
While I’ve not been able to attend any Olympic Games as of yet, I’ve been fortunate to visit a couple of places associated with the games. I was in Rio before the 2016 games and had an opportunity to see them setting up the volleyball courts on the beach. This was probably the closest I’ve been to an actual venue. The other one was the Parthenon in Athens, which I’m going to count as a spot associated with the ancient games.
Have you ever been to the Olympic Games? What are your fave events? Let me know!