The Olympic Games have a very long history. They began more than two thousand years ago in Greece. The Greeks were fond of music, plays, and all kinds of physical exercises. The famous Games at Olympia took place every four years and all the cities in Greece sent their athletes to take part in them. The strongest athletes came together to run, jump, wrestle, throw the discus, box. There were also chariot races. The Games were very popular, and thousands of Greeks used to watch them.
It became a tradition even to stop wars for the time of the Olympic Games, and the people lived in peace.
The competitions lasted five days. The winners in each kind of sport or art got on olive wreath which was the highest honor. When the champions came back home, the people used to greet them with flowers. The Greeks often put statues of their champions in the city square, because they brought glory to their native city.
For a long time, from 394 till 1896, there were no Olympic Games. On 23 June, 1894, Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee in a ceremony held at the University of Sorbonne in Paris. Demetrius Vikelas from Greece became the first president of the IOC. Two years later, in 1896, the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in Athens. The Games have always been as exciting as they were in ancient Olympia.
The capitals of many countries have been Olympic cities — Athens, Paris, London, Berlin, Helsinki, Rome, Tokyo, Mexico, Montreal and some others.
The Olympic Games are always a great festival of sport, youth and beauty.
Photo: Ukraine team mates Olha Zhovnir, Olga Kharlan, Halyna Pundyk and Olena Khomrova celebrate winning the gold medal. Ukraine wins the gold defeating China.