Olympics 2020: In honour of the mighty Zeus
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Olympics 2020: In honour of the mighty Zeus

The first modern Olympic games were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896

Olympics 2020: In honour of the mighty Zeus

The Olympics, one of the biggest global sporting events that binds the world together, is back this year with all its glory. Being the first Olympics ever with no live audience, it will certainly be special as the entire world will be glued to their television to watch it. As July 22 marked the onset of the 2020 Olympics, let's take a look at its history. 

Olympics games can be traced back to 776 B.C. in ancient Greece, however, historians believe that the games had begun well before then. It is also believed that the event was established by Heracles, son of Zeus, in honour of his father. Initially, the games were held every four years during a religious festival honouring Zeus. 

According to history.com, the games were held at Olympia, a sacred site on the western coast of the Peloponnese peninsula in the south of Greece and that is where the event got its name from. In 776 B.C., the first official games were recorded in Olympia. 

As per the records, the early Olympics had only one event, a footrace of approximately 200 yards and Coroebus, a cook, won that race. One more peculiar thing -- only men were allowed to participate and attend the games. 

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With time, more games were included in the event such as the diaulos (equivalent of today’s 400 m race), the dolichos (a long distance race) etc. Games like Pentathlon (running, jumping, javelin, discus throwing and wrestling), boxing, and wrestling were introduced later. 

As Greece was defeated by the Roman Empire in the 2nd century B.C., the event began to lose its significance and was finally called off in A.D. 393 by Theodosius I after a run of over 12 centuries.

The Olympics were revived in the 19th century by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who devoted himself to the advancement of physical education. In 1892, Coubertin proposed his idea to the 'Union des Sports Athlétiques' in Paris, contending for the Olympic Games as the biggest international athletic competition. He succeeded in getting the approval which led to the formation of the International Olympics Committee (IOC). 

The first modern Olympic games were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. Two hundred eighty participants from 12 nations participated together in the games which had 43 athletic events consisting of track and field, swimming, tennis, wrestling, gymnastics, cycling, weightlifting, shooting, and fencing, etc. 

Coubertin designed the Olympic rings in 1913. The five interlocking rings of colour blue, red, dark, green and yellow on a white background signify the coming together of five continents for the Olympics. 

The 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and commenced on July 23 in Tokyo, Japan. The closing ceremony is on August 8.