Olympic Games date from the Mycenaean times and were held in honour
They were designated exclusively for young Greek males, confronting
each other for the glory and a wreath of olive leafs. The athletic
competitions included wrestling, the pentathlon (wrestling, long jump,
discus, running and javelin throwing), chariot and horse racing and
the pancratium. The Olympic Games were such a sacred festival that
wars had to stop whenever they started (every full moon of August).
The games were banned by the Emperor
Theodosius I around AD 395, in a purge of pagan festivals.
|| Later Theodosius
II destroyed Olympia's temples where the Games were organised.
It is only in 1896 that the Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin managed
to reinstitute the Olympic Games and made them a big Athletic emblem.
In 2004, the Olympic Games are going to return in their birth country.
With a quite difficult start, Athens is now in a good path to be ready
for the big event of Athens 2004. The city had benefited a lot from
the Games preparation.
As a preparation for the Olympic Games of 2004, a new airport has
been built, old buildings renovated, new streets and motorways
constructed and the old city's centre, all around the Acropolis, is
changing into a pedestrian, car free, area.
Athletes from 200 countries will descend for the great event of Athens
2004 during 17 days in August 2004.
The modern 80.000-seat Olympic Stadium will be the place where most
of the athletics events and the opening and closing ceremonies will
be held. The many others buildings forming part of the Athens Olympic
Sports complex are all around the city from the Karaiskaki Stadium
near Piraeus (in the suburb of Faliro) to the area of Marathon where
the marathon race will follow the ancient traditional race route.