Uniting Nations for Millenniums: Olympics #Rio2016 Article by Debajani Mohanty
The golden flames dance with glory
Five rings symbolize habitable continents
Thousands participates pledge of dignity
Millions watch and cheer with rag
Originating from the ancient world of Greece some three thousand years ago, the game of Olympics has come a long way uniting all the nations of the world together in their support for athletes — even though it’s for two weeks.
In order to enforce fairness impartiality the International Olympic Committee enforced a call in 1920 for an oath where athletes pledge “In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams”
The Olympic flame symbolizes life, truth and the regenerative power of flame whose origin could be found in mythologies across the world as a heavenly fire stolen by an angel for humanity, enabling the progress of civilization.
The Olympic Torch ignited in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games at is actually brought from the site of the ancient Olympics in Olympia, Greece. Eleven women, representing the Vestal Virgins, perform a celebration at the Temple of Hera in which the torch is kindled by the light of the Sun, its rays concentrated by a parabolic mirror. The torch starts its transfer to the host city ending the Relay on the day of the opening ceremony in the central stadium of the Games. It is considered to be a great honor to be asked to light the Olympic flame and the final carrier is often kept unannounced until the last moment, and is usually a sports celebrity of the host country. After being lit, the flame continues to burn throughout the Games, until the day of the closing ceremony when it is finally put out, symbolizing the official end of the Games.
The Ancient Game
The first historical documentation of the game could be found as early as 776 B.C.E. as part of a religious festival to honor the Greek God of thunder Zeus who lived on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. Even though named after the mountain, the game was actually played near Greece’s southwest coast, the scenic land rich with olive trees. In the beginning it started with just racing where nude male athletes used to perform in their birthday suits to appreciate and celebrate the male physique.
No married females were allowed to attend the show with the penalty of death, Ouch! Slowly tired of only running they introduced wrestling, chariot racing, the long jump, disc throwing, and spear throwing to the event. The stadium offered enough space to 40,000 spectators where both atheletes as well as attendees were Greek. And what was the prize for the victorious winners in that era? Well, it used to be something available in abundance, olive wreaths known as kotinos. Not only that, they were worshipped as heroes and inscribed in Greek literature and poems by celebrated writers of that era.
The Greek game has been so far scheduled regularly in the month of August in every fourth year for several hundred years, until they were abolished in the early Christian era. After the Roman invasion the new emperor banned them to put an end to worship of ancient gods and embrace new beliefs in Christianity. The revival of the Olympic Games took place in 1896, and since then they have been staged every fourth year, except during World War I and World War II (1916, 1940, 1944).
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