Thirteen centuries after the total destruction of Olympia, between 1875 and 1881, a team of German archaeologists brought to light the ruins of Olympia, unearthing 130 sculptures and numerous traces of the great era. This discovery caused a revival in Europe’s interest for the Olympic Games.
Athens 1896: The first modern Olympic Games of 1896 in Athens were a great success. Thanks to the enthusiasm and help of the Greek benefactor Georgios Averof, the Kallimarmaro Panathenaico Stadium was prepared to accommodate the large cosmopolitan event.
On 6-15 April 1896 the first modern Olympic Games took place with great success in Athens, the birthplace of the Olympic Spirit and the Olympic Ideals, at the Kallimarmaro (= Artistic Marble) Panathenaico Stadium. The victory of Louis, a waterman from Maroussi, was the first big event of those Olympics and the name of Spyros Louis entered in history. The first Olympics were fully achieved.
Since then, the institution of the games travels around the world, carrying the universal and timeless values of Olympic Games to all peoples and cultures. Although the athletes who took part during the first modern Olympic Games did not exceed the number of 250, the Games in Athens 1896 were the largest sporting event ever!
The Greek officials and the audience was excited and asked to have the monopoly of the games. The IOC (International Olympic Committee), however, thought otherwise. It was decided that the games would start again and held every four years in different countries.
The Olympic flame is the symbol of the Olympic Games. It represents the theft of fire from the god Zeus by Prometheus. The flame represents the “endeavour for victory” and symbolises “the light of spirit, knowledge and life”. Now the Olympic flame is ignited several months before the opening ceremony of Olympic Games in Olympia, which is the altar of the Olympic flame. The lighting of the flame is achieved through the convergence of solar rays on a metal reflector, a concave parabolic mirror to collect sunlight. It is a great honour to invite someone to light the Olympic flame into the stadium. Once lit, the flame continues to burn throughout the duration of the Olympics and erased during the closing ceremony.
The Olympic Oath is recited by one athlete and one judge in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The athlete, team member of the organizing country, holds a corner of the Olympic flag and recites the oath: “In the name of all athletes, I promise to take part in these Olympic Games, respecting the regulations governing them, participating in the games without using additives and drugs, according to the true spirit of sportsmanship for the glory of sport and honour of our teams”.
The judge, who also comes from the host nation, does the same, but diversified reciting one vow: “In the name of all judges and officials, I promise that we run into these Olympic Games with complete impartiality, respecting and remaining true to rules governing them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship. We swear that we will take part in the Olympic Games in a spirit of chivalry, for the honour of our country and for the glory of sport”.
The Olympic Anthem: The Greek poet Kostis Palamas wrote the poem “Ancient immortal spirit” and the music is of Spyros Samaras. The Olympic anthem was written for the first Olympiad and it was sung during the opening and closing ceremony. The International Olympic Committee unanimously approved the adoption of the work of Samaras-Palamas as the official Olympic Anthem.
“Αρχαίο Πνεύμα αθάνατο, αγνέ πατέρα του ωραίου, του μεγάλου και του αληθινού, κατέβα, φανερώσου κι άστραψε εδώ πέρα στη δόξα της δικής σου γης και του ουρανού. Στο δρόμο και στο πάλεμα και στο λιθάρι, στων ευγενών Αγώνων λάμψε την ορμή και με τo αμάραντο στεφάνωσε κλωνάρι και σιδερένιο πλάσε και άξιο το κορμί …….”
“Ancient immortal spirit, pure father of beauty, great and true, come down, be reveled and flashed here in the glory of thy land and sky. In running and in fighting and in stone, shine at these noble Games’ momentum and with amaranth wreath crowned and create a worthy body of iron …..”
The Olympic Flag: Baron de Coubertin designed the Olympic flag in 1913-14. It depicts five interlocking rings on a white background. The five interlocking coloured circles represent the five continents (blue for Europe, yellow for Asia, black for Africa, green for Australia and red for America) and the meeting of the world’s athletes at the Olympic Games.
The Olympic motto: «Citius, Altius, Fortius» (faster, higher, stronger).
The Olympic Ideology: The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to participate, as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight. The essential aim is not winning, but hard battle.
Still nowadays, as in ancient Greece, the Olympics are the most important sporting competition on earth, which brings the world’s best athletes to one stage to compete for their countries.
Good luck to all of them!
All the above is for information only.
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