Monday, April 14, 2008

Modern Games, Torch Relay, and the Five Rings

The modern Olympic Games were first held in Athens, Greece in 1896. They were the result of efforts by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French educator, who wanted to promote interest in education and culture, as well as foster better international understanding through the universal medium of athletics. His source of inspiration was the ancient Greek Olympic Games and at first he enlisted nine nations to send athletes to the first modern Olympics. Today more than 100 nations compete. The Winter Olympic Games were started in 1924. There is nothing other than an ideal to associate the modern games with the ancient Olympics. Today the gathering has become the biggest commercial promotion on Earth. The origins of the Olympic torch came much later and appear in the modern games when in 1936 it first appeared in the Berlin Olympics. The truce from war during the ancient games was to protect those athletes coming from alien parts of the Greek Empire. The peace and accord associated with the games is a modern concept and has nothing to do with the original games. When Pierre de Coubertin visited Greece he saw the five intertwined rings on a monument to the ancient games. The rings symbolised the five circles on a sacred discus in which the terms of the truce for the Pythian Games were inscribed. He took the insignia for the Modern games and the five rings represent the five continents of the world.

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