Flaming torches and colored rings were not always what came to mind when thinking of the word “Olympics.” Although the Ancient Greeks have heavily influenced most of our Olympic traditions, there are many things that make modern and ancient Olympics different.
The Greek Olympics were held mainly to encourage good relationships and join city-states together through their religion.
“They [Ancient Olympics] had a secular character and dimed to show the physical qualities and evolution of the performances accomplished by young people,” according to Olympic.org.
Our Olympics today, however, are not associated with religion because of the wide range of cultures participating. The five rings on the modern Olympic symbol represent the continents that participate: North and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. The Modern Olympics unite athletes from all over the world-not just Greece.
The way the Olympics honor the athletes stem from Greece. Greek athletes were given awards and a palm branch following the competition. Red ribbons were tied around their head and hands to mark them as winners. The award ceremony occurred after the last day of the games and they received the awards in Zeus’ temple at Olympus. The winner’s name, father’s name, and homeland were announced as an olive tree wreath was placed around their head.
Today, athletes still receive an olive branch crown, but the medals and diplomas given to the participants are one of ways the Olympics have evolved. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are given to the first, second, and third place winners. Diplomas are also given to athletes from first to sixth place.
People from all over Greece participated in the Ancient games from shepherds to royal family members. This remains true today because social status plays no part. Their athletic events included running, boxing, discus, jumping, wrestling, and equestrian. Modern day Olympics include hundreds of events. The Ancient athletes usually also competed in the nude. Regardless of the Greek ideas, our athletes compete fully clothed.
Modern Olympics now include not only summer sports, but winter sports as well. Our summer Olympics occur every four years and our winter Olympics occur every two years. Ancient Greek Olympics, however, occurred each year unless they were involved in war.
But this year, there is definitely no war stopping the skiers and snowboarders from living their dreams at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.