The Ancient Olympics were a series of athletic events held every four years in Olympia, Greece from 776 BC to 393 AD. The games were dedicated to Zeus, the king of the Greek gods and were considered important religious and cultural ceremonies.
At first, only men could participate in the games, but later on, women were allowed to compete in some non-physical contests such as poetry or music. The athletes came from all parts of Greece and its colonies to compete in various sports such as running, wrestling, boxing, chariot races and pentathlon.
Winning at these games meant great honor for both the athlete and their city-states. Victors would be awarded with olive wreaths while their cities received fame and prestige. It was also believed that winning brought good fortune not just to the victor but also their communities.
The Ancient Olympics had strict rules governing fair play and cheating was severely punished by flogging or fines. Athletes who won multiple times became celebrities sometimes even acquiring political positions back home.
Today’s Olympic Games are vastly different than those of ancient times; however they still preserve many traits from them including internationalism (athletes come from all over) peace (a truce is issued during modern Olympic games), nationalism (athletes represent their countries), competition (winners receive medals instead of wreaths) among others which have become cornerstones for today’s global sporting event.