The ancient Olympics are believed to have originated in 776 B.C and ended in 393 A.D. It was not until 1896 that the modern Olympics were born. The games were held on April 6th in Athens Greece (the home of the ancient games) and were a showcase of all (almost) the finest athletes in the world.
While the ancient Olympics also began in Greece in 776 B.C, apart from the location the two events did not look alike. In the first ancient Olympics, the only competition was a foot race. In later years other competitions like boxing, chariot racing, and wrestling were added. In addition in the first ancient Olympics, only young male athletes from Greece would take part. In the first modern Olympics, the games were open to 14 nations across 43 events. Although they were still only open to men to compete. It was not until 1900, the second Olympiad when women were allowed to compete and the claim could be rightly made that the competition now showcased the best athletes in the world.
America holds the bragging rights for winning the first modern Olympic medal as James Connolly won the triple jump on opening day. America was also the nation with the highest number of medals in the competition, despite having fewer athletes taking part. Greece did win medals in 16 events giving the home crowd something to be happy about. The third Olympics was significant as well. It was here that the idea of gold, silver and bronze medals was introduced. Prior to that, the winning medal was silver.
The stadium where the first modern Olympics was held is still in fantastic condition today. It is located in Athens and visited by thousands of people every year. Athens would have to wait until 2004 to host the Olympics again. The Greeks again gave the home crowd something to cheer as once again they celebrated 16 medals while the US came out on top again, this time with 101 medals.
One tradition that has not come from ancient games is that of the Olympic torch. This idea was created during the controversial games of 1936 in Berlin. It was used as a propaganda tool at the time to show the alleged power of the Nazi party and of the Aryan race.
The Olympics has an incredible history and while some is mired by controversy, most is a showcase of the brilliance of humanity throughout time. This incredible competition continues to show the greatest athletes the world has to offer.