Summer Shark: Olympic History

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By Lindsay Edmunds

Every other year, the world's eyes turn to a single chosen city, wherein lie the most talented athletes from around the world who have come to compete with the best of the best. The Olympic Games are a part of a centuries old tradition. The games are most definitely inspiring, and are also a source of national unity. But where did the Olympics come from?

According to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, the Olympic Games were first launched in the form of a religious festival in honor of the father of the Greek gods and godesses, Zeus.

The games were first held in 776 B.C., though some evidence leads researchers to believe that the games may have possibly been present as early as the 10th or 9th century B.C.. The games existed for almost 12 centuries following, and occured every four years, just as they do now.

The ancient Olympic Games were only open to men, though in ancient times the women had their own version of the Olympic Games. Every four years, unmarried girls would gather at the Temple of Hera, who is the wife of Zeus, for a festival much like the one held in honor of Zeus. This festival involved foot races, as well. It wasn't until the 1900 Olympics in Paris that women were permitted to compete.

Over the years, the games evolved and countless more games were added. In the 2008 Olympics, there are 34 different sports!

According to the International Olympic Committee, the prestigious Olympic rings are symbolic of the "Olympic Movement," which is representative of the union of the five continents and of the athletes that come from around the world to compete at the Olympic Games.

The Olympic Flame first came about in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. The torch relay, however, did not come about until the 1936 Olympic Games. In the relay, the Olympic Flame is carried from Olympia, Greece to the host city in the form of a relay.

Even though the Olympic Games were created around 776 B.C., they have adapted accordingly with the times.