The Olympics: The Torch That Keeps on Burning
Have you ever thought that your favorite sports competition or favorite sport was inspired by the ancient Greeks? The Greek civilization has advanced modern society through the institution and the evolution of the Olympics, sports we play today, and ideals we have about professional athletes. You could share the same favorite hobby with a person that lived long before you were born.
If you watch the Olympics every four years, then you are even more like the ancient Greeks. Also, if you run, wrestle, box or ride horses you share another love with the ancient Greeks. Without these amazing Greek legacies we would miss out on many of the things we love. The ancient Olympics were a very popular sports competition that attracted a very large audience. Believe it or not, about fifty thousand people came to the Games every Olympiad.
Today, the Olympics attract a large crowd of as many as 6,560,000. One of the many symbols of the Olympics is the Olympic torch that is lit at the opening ceremony of the Games. Back in ancient Greece, the Greeks lit a fire at the temple of Hera, who was the queen of the Olympian gods and the wife of Zeus, the god in which the Games were in honor of. For prizes, the Greeks gave out tripods that look similar to modern day trophies. Tripods are metal figures with three legs given out to the winners as awards. Now, winners of Olympic events are rewarded with gold, silver or bronze medals.
In this day and age, the Olympics are a time that brings all citizens of different countries together to celebrate each other. The Olympic Games are a time when past and present wars are forgotten. This also applied to the ancient Greeks in the five-day period of time when their Games were occurring. The Greek citizens created a truce that prohibited states competing in the Games from taking up arms, pursuing legal problems or fulfilling death penalties. This made sure that spectators and athletes coming to the Games would have safe travel. The truce made the city-states set-aside problems and allowed the athletes and citizens to experience peace that was encouraged by the pure love of sports.
While some ancient Olympic events are very similar to today, some have been changed for our times. The Greeks created an event called the pentathlon that consisted of five sports, the javelin throw, discus throw, long jump, two hundred yard dash and wrestling. This sport has many events that make up the modern day sport of track and field like the javelin throw, long jump, two hundred yard dash and the discus throw. The pentathlon is also like a triathlon because they both use the idea of combining sports to create one sport. Also, the ancient Olympics had wrestling, running races, equestrian racing, boxing and chariot racing. In our time, the Olympics still have all of these events except chariot racing.
Now, many people participate in these sports even if they don’t make it to the Olympics. If the ancient Greeks never came up with the ideas for these sports, many people would not have been able to experience these sports that they dearly love. The Greek way of life was all about perfection. This carries on to our life today. Victors of the Olympics in ancient times were so greatly adored that they were considered heroes. Also, some cities fed victors for the rest of their lives.
This relates to today because athletes who receive medals are thought of as being better than everyone else because of endorsements they are offered such as being on a Wheaty’s© cereal box. This means that they tried to illustrate objects in as perfect form as they could. This explains why the Greeks loved watching “perfect” people play sports in the Olympics “perfectly”. This is much like today because Americans love watching the Olympics and other professional sporting events because of how in shape the athletes are and how good they are at what they do. Now and in ancient times, many people’s lives revolve around professional sports and are focused on the goal of achieving perfection.
As you can see, the foundation of the Olympics and the sports we play today originated from ancient Greece. From the lighting of the torch to the fellowship of nations the Olympics still celebrates many of the Greek’s original traditions. The basis of sports like track and field, wrestling, running, horse racing and boxing all derived from the ancient Greek’s creative ideas. The motivation people have today to be talented sports heroes is inspired by the ancient Greek’s ideals. These legacies will still continue in future generations to come.