Ancient to modern Olympics: Myths and hard-hitting realities

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The first-ever ancient Olympics featured in 776 BC. Yahoo India takes a look at some of the popular myths related to ancient and modern Olympics.

A brief history

The history of ancient Olympics traces back to 776 BC. It is the year that the records of the first-ever ancient Olympics are recorded. Initially, it began as a series of athletic competitions among representatives of the cities and states in Ancient Greece. The Games were then held to honour Zeus, the thunder God in Greek mythology.

It was then in 1896 that the first modern Olympic Games were held under auspices of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Olympic Games has since then undergone a sea of changes from rules and athletes to technical aspects. The Olympics also has some interesting myths and hard-hitting realities surrounding it. Let us have a look at some of them:

Cheating or corruption records in Ancient Olympics

ANCIENT OLYMPIC GAMES; A VICTOR IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES ENTERING THE TEMPLE OF ZEUS. ENGRAVING, DRAWN BY A.CASTAIGNE.
ANCIENT OLYMPIC GAMES; A VICTOR IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES ENTERING THE TEMPLE OF ZEUS. ENGRAVING, DRAWN BY A.CASTAIGNE.

The Ancient Olympics, played in honour of Zeus, was an epitome of fair play and integrity. It is believed that there were stricter rules in place for cheating or corruption in the Ancient Olympics. However, in the greed to win, the athletes caught cheating were either disqualified or whipped publicly.

Interestingly, the judges found guilty of bribery were made to pay hefty fines and the funds collected were used to erect statues of Zeus. Some of these statues can still be found in the entrance to Olympia’s stadium in Greece.

There was a common belief during Ancient Olympics which goes as, "victory is to be achieved by speed of feet and strength of body, not with cash," but not everyone took it seriously. It is thus that with the fines paid, 16 statues were erected over the years.

IOC officials, ministers danced at Rio 2016 closing ceremony

Ministers, four-star generals, International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials danced to the large tune of samba music at the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016, celebrating the success of hosting the mega events.

It was a relief for Brazil as it produced a new image — after the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics — as a sophisticated and responsible country which can successfully host mega sporting events.

But beneath all the razmataz and celebration, laid several allegations and bribery accusations on the officials, as police took the centre charge to investigate the matters soon after athletes from across the world left the country.

It was after the conclusion of Rio 2016 that politicians would be arrested and judges, officials became the prime target for police.

All competitors had to be men

It is said that during the Ancient Olympics only men could compete at an event. It was also mandatory for all the competitors to speak Greek. Some of the prominent participants at the Games included - Orsippos, a general from Megara; Polymnistor, a shepherd; Diagoras, a member of a royal family from Rhodes; Alexander I, son of Amyndas and King of Macedonia; and Democritus, a philosopher.

At the Ancient Games, married women were strictly prohibited from participation or to watch the proceedings unfold. However, unmarried women, were allowed to watch the events at the Games. It is also believed that the priestess of Demeter, goddess of fertility, was given a privileged position next to the Stadium altar.

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