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One of the most important sporting events in the world is about to begin: the Olympics. The Olympic Games were born in Ancient Greece, in the city of Olympia, when the competitions were still dedicated to Zeus.

It all began in the 8th century B.C., but the sporting event is still very popular today. Every four years, the whole world comes together to watch the best competitions in sports such as volleyball, artistic gymnastics, soccer, swimming and many other disciplines.

As the month of the most anticipated event of the year is already upon us, it’s time to check out everything about the Olympics and stay up to date with the event. Find out how it was born, what its main characteristics are, curiosities and much more.

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All about the Olympics: history and context

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Find out all about the Olympics!

To learn all about the Olympics, we first need to understand how it began and all its origins. The history of the Olympic Games began in Olympia, a region in Elida, Greece, and its beginnings are linked to the legend of Hercules.

Legend has it that the god Hercules created the Olympics to pay tribute to Zeus, his father, the god of the gods. So, the first record of the games is from 776 BC, becoming a festival not only to entertain the population with competitions, but also to honor Zeus.

In the beginning, the Olympic games were not only athletic, but also a social expression. The population watched fights, races, jumping competitions, javelin and discus throws, and many other sports, but they also witnessed many artistic expressions.

It was common to see performances of music, poetry, theater, dance, architecture and sculpture. Participants created plays, for example, depicting historical situations in Greece for entertainment, or showed off their talents in singing and musical instruments.

The Olympics were of great importance to the culture of the region, but also socially, since there was a truce that prohibited conflicts during the competitions, making everything much safer.

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All about the Olympics: the arrival of the modern games

All that was seen in the ancient Olympics came to an end in 393 AD, when all pagan festivals were banned by Theodosius I, the Roman emperor. The measure was introduced by the ruler to promote Christianity and put an end to practices contrary to it.

In all, the ancient Olympic Games lasted for 1,169 years, and long afterwards the competitions returned to what we know today as the modern Olympic Games.

Pierre de Coubertin, a French baron, conceived the modern Olympics, and this new phase began with the creation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894. What inspired its foundation were excavations carried out in Olympia, revealing more than curious details from the past.

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The first modern Olympics took place in 1896

Then, in 1896, the first edition took place in Athens. Only 14 countries took part in the event, bringing 241 male athletes to the venue, as women were not allowed to compete. Only nine sports took part: athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, weightlifting, wrestling, swimming, tennis and shooting.

In addition to the sports competitions, the return of the Olympic Games included an opening ceremony and a closing ceremony. During the performances, the population witnessed speeches, parades by the athletes and other exhibitions that highlighted the culture of Greece at the time.

The opening events took place in the Panathinaiko Stadium, an ancient marble structure that served as the home of the ancient games. Both the competitions and the performances were a success.

The winners were awarded a laurel wreath, while second place won a silver medal and third place a copper one. Since then, the Olympics have been held once every four years.

All about the Olympics: main features

The Olympic Games are not simply a compilation of competitions, they have several important characteristics for humanity and society. As well as entertaining, the Olympics bring the whole world together for a single purpose, highlighting the variety of sports that exist.

We see all kinds of disciplines being competed in, such as soccer, basketball, tennis, swimming and many others that have their own competitions too. The Olympics are divided into summer and winter events, as there are activities that can only be done in a certain season.

The Olympic event also stands out for being advantageous for the cities in which it takes place. In order to host the competitions, many venues have to undergo restructuring, be it renovation or the construction of new stadiums.

When the games are over, the stadiums and courts continue to benefit the city, which can count on other important events or simply offer a useful structure for its population.

All about the Olympics: Paralympics

In addition to the traditional Olympics, the event also includes the Paralympics, which are inclusive sporting events. So we see sports adapted for people with some kind of disability, be it physical, visual, hearing or intellectual.

Among the Olympic sports adapted for the Paralympics are swimming, athletics, basketball, tennis, fencing, soccer, cycling and many others.

The first Paralympics were held in Rome in 1960. And since 1980, the competitions have been held in the same country that hosts the traditional games, also once every four years.

All about the Olympics: curiosities

Now that you know about the historical context of the games and all about the Olympics, like where they originated and how the modern competitions began, let’s check out some trivia?


Each edition of the Olympics has a mascot, a tradition that has been in place since 1972, when the games were held in Munich, Germany.

The Olympic mascot is always a character that represents a country’s culture. Past mascots have included animals such as bears, tigers, birds and much more.


Contrary to what many people may think, the gold medals of the Olympic Games are not entirely made of gold. In fact, they are silver-plated and only covered with the material.

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Every year, a mascot brightens up the Olympics

The Olympic torch

Every year, the Olympic torch is carried as a tribute to the traditions of the ancient games. The flame is lit by sunlight and then carried by runners until it reaches the main competition venue.


During the Olympics, the competing athletes all stay in the same place, a community called the Olympic Village. There, they can concentrate for their competitions while meeting other people from all over the world.

What did you think of learning all about the Olympics? The 2024 edition is almost upon us, scheduled to begin on July 26 and end on August 11.

Take advantage of the fact that you’ve come this far and check out our other articles on the Olympic Games and their sports!

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