Ancient Greek Olympics and Their Influence on Sports Today Term Paper

Pages: 20 (6169 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 13  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports

Ancient Greek Olympics and Their Influence on Sports Today

Most of Greek history has been recorded and printed in great numbers. However, no authentic historic records illustrate Olympic activity before 776 B.C. Nonetheless, it is worth noting here within the contests in Homer's Iliad, clear indications have been given to these competitive games. The Olympic activity had been carried out mainly in the honor of their god Zeus. Games took place in the great city of Olympia for 4 consecutive days, and sometimes even 5 days, after every four years.

Due to their deep-rooted and extensive history, Olympics held a very prestigious place amongst the Greeks. A variety of games were played, which comprised the Isthmian at Corinth, the Pythian Games at Delphi, as well as, the Nemean at Argos. Paul (2000) gives a brief account of the Olympic activity during the Greek period. He writes, "They were held then, as always, before and since, at Olympia, in the north-west Peloponnese, a relatively insignificant and inaccessible location. They were under the presidency of the local city-state of Elis, again not one of the major players in the ancient Greek league. So far as the sports component went, there were by then nine main events, all for male competitors only: the stadion or one-lap sprint (about 200 metres); diaulos or 400 metres; dolichos or 'long' distance (24 laps); pentathlon; boxing; four-horse chariot race; pankration; horse race; and race-in-armour. But the sports component was only one part, and not the most important, of the five-day festival, held at the second full moon after the summer solstice."Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Ancient Greek Olympics and Their Influence on Sports Today Assignment

Similar views have been provided by an extremely famous archeologist, David Gilman Romano. David Gilman Romano is considered an expert on Greek history and has authored many books and research studies pertaining to ancient Greece. He writes, "Although there are very few similarities between the ancient and the modern Olympics, the events and developments of the ancient Games provide much food for thought. After the Games of 676 BC came to a close, the festivals at Olympia continued to increase in size and spectacle. Competitions were held every four years for more than a thousand years, until the Games were eliminated altogether toward the end of the 4th century AD by Theodosius, Emperor of Byzantium. Over the centuries, the original purpose and religious significance of the ancient Games became heavily influenced by a variety of political, social, and economic forces and rapidly became a spectacle for athletes to compete for fortune and fame. Looking to the Games of the 26th modern Olympiad, one is compelled to ask if the legacy of the modern Olympics will follow a similar pattern (Taken from: http://www.museum.upenn.edu)."

In the modern world more athletes than ever are articulating their religious faith candidly, quite often to the disappointment of their fans, commentators, as well as their teammates. The debate, however, surrounding the academic and intellectual circles is whether the arenas of sport an appropriate place to proclaim the glory of God.

The articulation of religion can take place in almost any part of the sporting world, from the thrilled boxing rings of Atlantic City and Las Vegas to the extensive standard car tracks of Europe, from the animated stadiums of football in Latin America to the luxurious, green fairways of professional golf in South Africa.

Researchers assert that, in the 1990s, more athletes and sports personalities than ever before have started to candidly articulate their religious faith in the presence of their adversaries, teammates, admirers, as well as, television cameras. They go down on your knees. They pray. They yell. They revel and position their fingers to the heavens, presenting thanks to the God, who they articulate has given them the bravery and power to contend and succeed in their selected sports. And when their workday is complete and their term is ended, they carry on to spread their religious expressions in the world outside sports, by means of their standing and superstar personality to attract both the juvenile and the old in a similar way into campgrounds, associations, programs, as well as, organizations whose reason is to serve the god.

The Influence of Ancient Greek Olympics on Modern Sports

The Site of the Games

The Greeks did not change their venue every time they decided to hold Olympics. The place that would hold Olympics every four years had been fixed and had been the same all the way through. Richard Polidoro and Uriel Simri (1996) give a brief illustration about the location of the games. They write, "The sacred site of Olympia is located at the juncture of the Cladeus and Alpheus rivers in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese. According to the ancients, the site was designated in the 11th century BC as a sacred shrine in honor of the supreme god Zeus. Olympia in 676 BC was probably an open field with an altar erected in honor of Zeus, a small shrine in honor of the legendary Pelops, and a scattering of less significant altars .... The altis, or sacred shrine, was nothing like what we know existed in later times. It only contained the Pelopion (a small shrine in honor of Pelops) and a number of altars, including the major altar dedicated to Zeus. Aside from the stadium, there were very few buildings in Olympia. There were no facilities to train, feed, or house the athletes. The athletes most likely slept along the banks of the two rivers, bathed in the river water, and practiced in an open field. Each athlete was responsible for his own food and supplies." Similar views have been illustrated by Mallwitz (1972) in his analysis of the structures of the Olympia.

Similarly, David Gilman Romano writes, "The ancient Olympic Games were primarily a part of a religious festival in honor of Zeus, the father of the Greek gods and goddesses. The festival and the games were held in Olympia (see 'Did you know' in the glossary), a rural sanctuary site (model shown here, courtesy of the British Museum) in the western Peloponnesos. The Greeks that came to the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia shared the same religious beliefs and spoke the same language. The athletes were all male citizens of the city-states from every corner of the Greek world, coming from as far away as Iberia (Spain) in the west and the Black Sea (Turkey) in the east (Taken from: http://www.museum.upenn.edu)."

Influence on Modern Sports

In the modern world, nations and countries compete with one another. The home advantage for the team playing in its own territory has been scrutinized in sport competitions for more than 2 decades. Results have time after time established that there tends to be an accomplishment benefit connected with contending at home amid major qualified and amateur associations, individual teams, as well as, even individual sport athletes (Steven R. Bray, Marc V. Jones and Stephanie Owen. 2002).

The Olympic Program in Ancient Greece

The Olympic Games in Ancient Greece took place under the control of the men who were not common people, by any stretch of imagination. The people who controlled the Olympic Games had been extremely rich, wealthy and influential. This ensured that the Games continued to be managed in a proper way. This enhanced public participation both as spectators and athletes. Richard Polidoro and Uriel Simri (1996) write, "In 676 BC, the Games were under the control of the Pisatan authorities, who were generally men of wealth and notability .the Games were held alternately on the second or third full moon following the summer solstice, which corresponded to the longest day of the year. If this was the case, then the Games of 676 BC would have occurred in the month of July or August."

Similarly Douskou (1982) note the increasing enthusiasm of the Greeks in the Olympic Festival. He writes, "Originally scheduled as a one-day event, the Games at Olympia expanded to a five-day schedule in the middle of the 5th century BC. To the best of our knowledge, the Games in 676 BC lasted two days. A second day was added to the games in 680 BC to accommodate the addition of the chariot race."

Influence on Modern Sports

Today more than 200 sports are at the center stage of international events. These events, along with many others, are celebrated with equal enthusiasm all over the world. Some places, like South Asia, express extreme joy over and are ardent fans of cricket, while other places, like America take teen interest in Base Ball, Basket ball and Football (Heather E. Morrow 2004).

Athletes, Officials, and Spectators in Ancient Greece

The athletes came from all over Greece to participate in this historic event. Most of the athletes did not find it difficult to come to Olympia as they resided close by, whereas those who lived in far off places had to travel long distances to come to Olympia. It is interesting to note that all the Greek athletes, spectators and even the officials were not left unguarded… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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