Olympics History, Purpose, Nature ... and Fear

As the summer olympics begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, let’s pause to think about the history of the event, the purpose of the competition, the nature of the games and how we can make a “go-for-gold” difference in the outcome of these games.

120 Years Ago: Let the Games Begin

Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin founded the Olympics in 1896. The first summer games were held in Athens, Greece and attracted 245 competitors. More than 200 of the competitors were from the host nation of Greece, and all were male. With only 14 countries represented it was a small start. Yet it was the largest international sporting event to have ever taken place. The 1896 Olympics were a great success drawing the largest crowd ever for a sporting event.

Only four years later, as the world ushered in a new century, the Paris Summer Olympics had four times as many athletes, with women also participating. The success of the 1924 Summer Olympics brought about the creation of the Winter Olympics. Over the course of the first half of the 20th century, the Olympic Games grew. And in the last half of the century, with the introduction of television, the games were viewed in homes around the world. The first games broadcast world-wide were the 1964 games in Tokyo, Japan. The most recent Olympic games were the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

The Purpose of the Competition

Pierre de Coubertin created the Olympics to be an international sporting competition that would foster unity and understanding among people of the world. What a wonderful goal! We can all agree that the Olympics have done that ... at least to some extent. ut as with any endeavor, success is not without problems. For the Olympics, the world has greatly impacted and influenced the nature of the games.

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