With the world in shambles and everyone in panic mode, we need something to celebrate. One thing we can celebrate is the Olympic Games held in Tokyo. Well, some countries are celebrating more than the others. My lovely rainbow nation is definitely one of the ‘others’, but that is beside the point. The point is: Do you know the history of the modern Olympic Games?

The Olympic Games are considered the world’s foremost sporting competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in the four-year period. They feature summer and winter sporting events in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions from athletics and swimming to skateboarding!

The history of the Olympics spans back to ancient Greece and ancient Greek mythology. The ancient Olympics were part of a religious festival in honour of Zeus, the god of lightning, and father of ancient gods and goddesses. The games were held in a sanctuary named Olympia in reference to Mount Olympus, the home of the ancient Greek gods and goddesses.

According to Penn Museum the games began in the year 776 BC, when a cook from a nearby city of Elis won the Stadion race; a foot race that is 600 feet long (roughly 183 meters). According to their sources the Stadion race was the only athletic event of the games for the first 13 Olympics. The games were held in Olympia for almost 12 centuries.

The games were held from 776 BC to 393 AD. Over one thousand five hundred years later a Frenchman by the name Baron Pierre de Coubertin presented the idea of the return of the Olympics; he was called the father of the modern Olympics. The Olympics did return in 1896 in the capital of Greece, Athens. Coubertin’s initial idea was to unveil the games in 1900 in his city of birth, Paris; but 34 delegates were fascinated with the idea and convinced him to have the games moved up and have Athens as the first host city.

Thanks to Coubertin we today have the Olympic Games and thanks to the games we have legendary Olympians that inspire us; and I am even more inspired as a citizen of the country that is home to a world record holder and an Olympic gold medallist – Tatjana Schoenmaker. On her way to Olympic gold glory, Tatjana broke the world record in the women’s 200 meter breaststroke.

My country may not have the most medals in these games, or ever, but the Olympics are giving me positive vibes and something else to focus on in these hard times.


Tell us: What sports do you like to play or to watch and why?