Historians have traced the origin of the Olympic games back to 776, but many believe that the tradition started years before that. The ancient Greeks established the event to honor the Greek god Zeus. The ancient Greek games included many of the sports that we still watch today, including running, the long jump, the shot put, and boxing.
The modern Olympics started in 1896 in Greece. In Athens, 14 countries represented by 241 athletes participated in a total of 43 events, starting on April 6, 1896. The sports showcased included cycling, swimming, gymnastics, track and field, and fencing, just to name a few. The 1896 Olympic games also introduced the first marathon, which followed the same route as the Greek soldier who traveled from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persians.
Many of the sports featured in the 1896 Olympic games are still showcased in today’s Olympics. Now there is a complex process for determining when and if a new sport should be added to the Olympic showcase. In order to be considered for inclusion, a sport must supervised by an International Federation and must be widely recognized and appreciated across the globe.
This year’s Olympics will take place from August 5, 2016 thru August 21, 2016. Over the course of these 19 days, 306 events will be held spanning across 42 sports.
Are you going to watch? I know I’ll be tuned in to cheer on our athletes.