The Tokyo Olympics 2020 is ruling TV screens all across the globe, thanks to the devastating effects of the ongoing pandemic. Most of the sports events are being held without any public or spectators due to the ongoing state of emergency, but despite all obstacles, the Olympics is in full swing. It almost makes you wonder, was it like this back in the day?
Historical Legacy of the Olympics
In almost historical cultures and even present-day, sports are seen as thrilling entertainment sources. In fact, evidence traces sports events back to 776 BC. The ancient Olympics were more religious and were held every four years in the Sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, Greece, which is also where the name 'Olympics' comes from.
There weren't any states during ancient times, but many small city-states sent their representatives to compete in the games. The nature of these games was mainly athletic but also based on combat sports such as chariot racing events, wrestling, and pankration. The interesting thing about these Olympics games is that they brought with them a sense of diplomacy amongst the city-states – all conflicts that were taking place at the time were halted and postponed until the Olympics were over.
This Was Just the Beginning
Once the Romans took over Peloponnese, the Olympics continued with more fun and fervor than ever. The Romans had their own style of buildings and housing for competing athletes, including permanent structures, private villas for the elites, and stadiums for sports events. They also added to the number of participants and the number of sports, turning it into a rather global event than just a Greek tradition.
Though chariot racing continued in the Byzantine Empire, there was no denying that the sport wasn't the safest. It was highly popular throughout the empire, and people cheered on their teams, known as 'factions'. Many participants often died in the arena, which is why the victors were usually awarded generously.
All these centuries later, the Olympics may host different sports when compared to ancient times and may not have the beloved chariot racing, but it still holds the spirit of ancient Greece.