The first recorded Olympics were in 776 B.C. The Olympics originated at least a century before that time. There are many tales concerning Greek Gods as to the origin of the Olympic Games . One of the more likely stories is that they formed from an Olympic festival to honor Greek deities.
The Olympics started out as just a single foot race of about 200 yards. Another foot race, 2.5 miles, was added in about 761 B.C. Soon many other sports began to originate. For example, the pancratium which is a combination of boxing and wrestling started in 748 B.C., wrestling and the pentathlon began 708 B.C., boxing in 688 B.C. and chariot racing in 680 B.C. At one point in time there were up to 23 Olympic sports.
In the beginning this only took one day, then in 680 B.C. it took two days, and in 632 B.C. it was extended to five days. Actually only three out of the five days were devoted to competition. The first day was devoted to religious sacrifice, registration, and taking the Olympic Oath and the last day prizes were awarded.
Men in the Olympics usually competed with no clothes. This was because in 720 BC. a runner deliberately lost his shorts so he could run more freely. After this, clothing was abolished.
Women were not allowed to compete, or even watch the games. This was not because of the men being nude. It was actually because Olympia, a plain in the small state of Elis, was dedicated to the god Zeus, so it was a sacred area for men. Women were allowed to watch one event, the chariot races, because they were held outside the stadium. Women did have their own sacred festivals which men were not allowed to attend.
The Ancient Olympics ended in 394 A.D. when Theodosius the Great, declared the end of the Olympics. The Olympics had lasted over 1000 years, possibly close to 1600 years.
For more information, visit: