The ancient Greeks attached great importance to physical development. They dedicated games to the gods, and called competitions usually by the name of the city where they were arranged. There were Nemean, Pythian, Isthmian Games. But the most significant were considered Olympic, because they were arranged in honor of the supreme deity — Zeus. That is why the Olympic Games has become an event of pan-Greek significance. The winner of the Olympic Games (or otherwise “Olympionic”) was becoming a real idol in his homeland. He was honored as a hero. A statue of the winner adorned the city’s main square.
Originally there was just one type of competition — running for a distance of 1 stage (about 192 metres). By the way, that’s where the word “stadium” came from. Subsequently, the number of types of competitions increased. Athletes competed in double distance running, in full combat layup running, in fistfight, wrestling, discus and javelin throwing, chariot racing. The Olympics attracted huge numbers of spectators from all over Greece. For the period of their holding, a truce was declared. Only free Greeks, full citizens of their states — polis could compete. Aliens and slaves this was stricter forbidden. And women could not even attend the stadium as spectators – for that they faced the death penalty.
After Greece was conquered by Rome, the Olympics began to come into decline. And Roman Emperor Theodosius I forbade them in general. It happened in 394 A.D. And it was only many centuries later that the first revived Olympic Games in Athens took place in 1896. This happened thanks to the titanic work of Baron Pierre de Coubertin and his like-minded men.