This paper focuses on the Greek games and sports history. Greece has a distinguished history of sports in the world since it invented the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games attained the Olympic name because they were formerly held in a town in Olympia, which is on the Peloponnese peninsula (International Olympic Committee, 2020). However, the exact dates and circumstances that led to the introduction of the first Olympic Games are still uncertain. However, some people believe that they were a direct outgrowth of the beliefs and values of Greek society. Other proponents declare that Legend Zeus, who once fought Kronos, his father to gain world power, was the pioneer (Historyworld, 2020). The battle happened on the top of a mountain that faced a valley towards the southwest of Greece. Zeus ended up defeating his father, who was honored through the immense statue that was constructed in the valley. Olympia was the name of the valley, and later religious festivals started being conducted there since people began to worship Zeus. Therefore, it’s the religious festivals that became the famous Olympic Games (International Olympic Committee, 2020). Different from the modern Olympic games, the ancient games involved wrestling, horse races, javelin, chariot races, pentathlon such as discus throwing, jumping, and running as well as pankration (Historyworld, 2020).
The other new games that were included in the Olympic Games, for instance, the hoplitodrome, involved a footrace in which athletes wore full armor when running. Next, the pentathlon was a game in which the athletes undertook five events, including sprint, wrestling, jumping, discus, and javelin. Boxing and wrestling were brutal sports due to lack of rules, and the winner was determined after one participant raised a hand or unconsciously laid on the ground a sign of accepting defeat.
Spridon Louis was the first athlete who became a Greek national hero in 1896 after he won a marathon race. The event was one of the first games of the modern Olympic sports that assumed a national outlook. Primarily, the recommendation of the pioneers was that the champion would be a greek (Koulouri, 2006). Besides men, women also got involved in sporting activities, especially in chariot racing. The first woman to win an Olympic game was Cynisca, the sister of Agesilaus (Koulouri, 2006).
Since the introduction of the Olympic Games, other modern sports like basketball, soccer, volleyball, and handball have also emerged within the country. In particular, Greeks love the soccer game both nationally and internationally. At the national championship level, the Greek super league involves numerous teams, including AEK Athens, Olympiacos, Paok, Lamia, Aris, Atromitos, Panathinaikos, OFI, Volos, and others. On the international level, Greece is not ranked alongside top countries. However, in 2000, they surprisingly became the champions of the European UEFA Euro cup (Koulouri, 2006). On the other side, when it comes to basketball, Greece is excellent as they are known to be the global powerhouse of basketball. As such, Greek is one of the FIBA founding members, and it is ranked fourth-best basketball team in the world. Their national team has ever been taking a silver medal in FIBA global championship starting from 2006 as well as a EuroBasket bronze champion since 2009 (Koulouri, 2006).
In conclusion, games have brought national unity since they get celebrated with a lot of belongingness by every citizen. Besides, the cultural and norms have been maintained through participation in games like the ancient cultural Olympic festivals. However, when comparing ancient Greece sporting activities and the current one, there has been considerable improvement in terms of participants involved and winnings. Initially, only Greek players had the right to be declared winners, but of recent every player regardless of religion, race, and nationality are allowed to play and win restriction-free.
Historyworld. (2020). History of sports and games. History World. http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID=btx
International Olympic Committee. (2020). Ancient Olympic Sports - running, long jump, discus, pankration. Olympic Games. https://www.olympic.org/ancient-olympic-games/the-sports-events
Koulouri, C. (2006). The first modern Olympic Games at Athens, 1896, in the European context. Zentrumfür Deutschland-und Europastudien, 5, 59-76.
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