Have you ever wondered how the Olympic Games started? And why? It all started as a homage to the gods. It was all part of a religious festival in honor of the Greek gods and goddesses. The festival and the games were held in Olympia.
As a matter of fact, the first worshiped was Cronos. Since Cronos devoured all his children, Greek citizens offered him gifts that were then burned at the stake. Lighting the bonfire gave prestige and honor to those who did it.
What is the story behind the Olympics of ancient Greece? How was it born? Let’s take a look at the evidence so far known that allows us to study the oldest origin ever known. So, let’s go back to BC…
The first evidence ever found of the existence of the Olympic Games is in ancient Greece 776 BC. They were born in the city of Olympia, hence their name. Until 393 AD, the games were celebrated every four years. These events were repeated up to 293 times. Nonetheless, the specific date of the beginning of these competitions is still unknown.
What we do know is that the Olympic Games started as a way to pay homage to the gods. The first was Cronos, youngest son of Uranus, god of the sky, and of Gaia, goddess of the earth. Cronos killed all of his sons except Zeus, who soon relegated him to the Olympic tributes. Liturgical acts were organized around the figure of the god.
These preparations, which were extended in the time to the father of the gods, brought together not only athletes but thousands of faithful who gathered around the figure of Zeus. This led to the implementation of some practices that became common, such as offering him gifts on Mount Olympia.
Lighting The Bonfire
Those presents brought to Mount Olympia were burned at the stake as a sign of reverence or submission to the god. Since lighting the flame was a highly coveted privilege and distinction, a simple way to determine who would be chosen was devised.
It consisted of placing the pilgrims at a safe distance in the form of an exit. From that place, they had to start the race to the point where a priest was standing carrying a torch. The winner would have the honor of lighting the flame of the great bonfire in which the gifts given to the god would burn.
The first regulated race consisted of running 630 ft (192 meters). In this way, the Olympic Games were born.