According to record books the first Olympic Games were held in 776 BC!
The Ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece thousands of years ago. Back then, the Games were held in honour of the God Zeus. The aim of the Games was to show the physical qualities of the athletes who competed and to encourage good relations between cities across Greece.
At first, the Ancient Olympic Games lasted just one day, and had just one event - a running race. Over time, the Games were extended and lasted up to five days. Only men were allowed to compete and only unmarried women were allowed in the stadium to watch. Some women were so keen to watch the competition that they dressed up as men and sneaked into the stadium!
Winners at the Ancient Games had two victory ceremonies. In the first ceremony they received a palm branch and had red ribbons tied around their hands and head. At the second ceremony, an olive tree wreath was placed on the winner's head.
More than 1500 years later, a young Frenchman called Baron Pierre de Coubertin created the modern Olympic Games. *In 1894, he founded the International Olympic Committee and together they organised the first Olympic Games of modern times in 1896. It was held in Athens, Greece. A total of 241 athletes from 14 countries took part and the winners received a silver medal and an olive branch.
olympic games today
The games today are much larger than they used to be, and they last much longer - in Beijing 2008 olympics they lasted 16 days and athletes competed in 28 different sports!
In Ancient Greece, the Government and wealthy and famous Greek citizens paid for the Games. Today, the Games cost much more money and they have got larger sponsors, or companies that pay to be involved. These companies help to fund the cost of the Games.