Olympic Games Exemplifies
Dr. Thamsing Lamkang *
ORIGINS OF OLYMPIC: The Olympic Games were a series of athletic competitions between representatives of the city –states of Ancient Greece. They were held in honor of the "Greek God Zeus". "The exact origins of the games were shrouded in "myth and legend" but records indicate that they began in 776 BC at Olympia in Greece". They were celebrated for over 1000 years until 393 AD.
The games were usually held every 4 years, or Olympiad, as the unit of time came to be known. During a celebration of the games, an 'Olympic Truce' was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the Games place in safety. The prizes for the victors were Olives wreathes or crowns. The games were always held at Olympia rather than alternating to different locations.
HOW THE MODERN OLYMPICS EVOLVED
Following the success of the 1896 Games, the Olympics entered a period of stagnation that threatened their survival. The GAMES held at the Paris exposition in 1900 and the world's fair in St. Louis in 1904 were-side shows to the main event. The Paris Games did not have a stadium but it was the first time women took part. The St. Louis Games hosted 650 athletes, but 580 were from the United States. The parochial nature of this celebration was a very low point for the Olympic Movement.
THE OPENING CEREMONIES
The ceremony typically starts with the hoisting of the host country's flag and a performance of its national anthem. The host nation then presents artistic displays of music, dance and theatre representatives of its culture.
After the presentation, the competing athletes parade into the stadium, nation by nation. Greece is traditionally the first to enter in order to honor the origins of the Olympics. The Olympic torch is brought into the stadium and the Olympic flame in the stadium's cauldron is lit, signifying the start of the Games.
THE CLOSING CEREMONIES
Flag barriers from each participating country enter the stadium, followed by all the competitors. Three national flags are hosted and the corresponding national anthems are played: the flag of Greece, to honor the birthplace of the Olympic Games; the flag of the current host country, and the flag of the country hosting the next summer Olympic Games. The Olympic flame is extinguished and the mayor of the city that organized the Games transfers a special Olympic flag to the mayor of the city hosting the next Olympic Games.
It will be the mayor of Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The next host city briefly introduces itself with displays of dance and theatre representatives of its culture.
THE '8888' BEIJING OLYMPIC
The last Olympic Games in Beijing were magnificent year in China's history. Chinese believes that 2008 was the luckiest year for sportsmen and women of their life-time. Why is it historical? The year was 2008; the month of August was 8. The opening ceremony was on date 8, and it starts exactly at 8 pm sharp Chinese standard time. So, to remember the luckiest year, months, day and time of Chinese people are '8888'!
Sports simply are a game, whether it is a team or an individual, small or big in events. The most important thing to remember is that each player is an 'Ambassador of Peace'. For every Ambassador of Peace it is not essential to consider its color, race, nation, religion and sect. But let all men be the 'light of peace, not only in every heart of a family but worldwide'. We must tear down the walls of enmity and envy across the nations through the universal language of sports. The walls such as; war for power, nuclear war, world economy, the poverty across the third world countries especially in Asia & Africa, the religious war within, the green revolution, racism, AIDS and many others. If these walls are not pulled down they might become a mountain, which would be a disaster for the Coming Generations. Today sports played an important role to bring peace in the world, and also among the rival-nations. What political and religious leaders fail to do can be easily done through the Universal language of sports!
For instance, Japan and Korea could have never come together if there were no Foot-ball World Cup in 2002. The world never expects Korea & Japan to come so closely due to their rivalry in history. But the wall of enmity between the two nations starts to crumble down for the sake of co-hosting the 2002 world cup. The rivalry of Irish and Germany boycotted to play against each other since World War II. However, the Irish team had decided to put down all conflicts and play against Germany for the first time in 2002 world cup. This step has been a display of peace, friendship and good-will.
The Olympic exemplify the great ideals of "brotherhood, sportsmanship and healthy competition". In Olympic Games, simply to compete is an honor, enhanced by breaking a record or qualifying for a medal". In one way, there are no Olympic losers because those involved, including non-competing officials and even spectators are part of a unique event designed to give a rare glimpse of international accord.
Is the Olympic spirit something which can last only for a limited time, at four yearly intervals? The failure of the human race to extend such harmony beyond the world's greatest sporting event seems to indicate this. But to settle for such conclusion is like, placing faith and trust in the mythical gods of Mt. Olympus, rather to settle by 'placing our faith and trust to Jesus Christ, the God of the Universe'!
The Origin of the Olympic Games threads their way in more than 33 centuries, although the earliest precise record begins in 776 BC. The first Games were held on a plain called Olympia in Ancient Greece. With a religious connotation to these celebratory events, they served as a temporary truce between warring factions in the country. In those days the only tool to stop the war is only through Games. Sports participants were guaranteed safe passage through enemy territory and back.
Due to the World War II, the Olympics were cancelled for 12 years. It was resumed in London where only 50 countries represented. Germany and Japan were banned for their participation in the war. London was chosen in recognition of the damage, the city had suffered during the war, like Antwerp in the 1920s, to host the Game. Another major breakthrough sports had contributed was the fight for 'racism'. The world today stood together in one accord for those who are discriminating fellow human being just for the sake of its color. In the recently held one of world greatest football played in Europe, European Union Football Association 'EUFA' displays 'RESPECT' in all commercial banners and signboards, and also on every player's jerseys. God made men equally in His own Image and likeness. We must have respect for each others as human beings created by God for His own purpose. God too will never allow discrimination towards God's own creation.
The term 'Olympiad' denoted the period of 'four years' between the Games, and was used in dating events. The contests were first described in the Iliad, a long Greek poem about the Trojan War, thought to have been written by Homer in the 8th Century B.C. They included races of foot, chariot-racing, wrestling, boxing, fighting in full armor, archery, discus and javelin throw. The Greeks also took part in a contest called Pancratium-a mixture of wrestling and boxing.
Discus and Javelin throw were the most popular among all the games as shown by ancient sculpture. For the complete athletes, there was the Pentathlon. It consisted of five events-racing, jumping, wrestling, discus and javelin-throwing with the lever. High jump was unknown. There are records of a 15 meter broad jump. The games held in Olympia and other parts of Greece were given wide publicity to allow athletes to get themselves trained. Spectators came from all over Greece. The Olympic Games lasted seven days and were usually held in the month of August.
Originally, the prizes were simple olive wreaths crowned with laurels and he became a hero. The winners were allowed to have his statue built inside the sacred walls of Olympia. But as the rewards increased in value, the Games became more corrupted. Finally, in AD 393, the Emperor Theodosius decreed the end of the Olympic Games. By relying on literary sources, inscriptions and archaeology, we can write an inspiring account of the original Olympic Games held in Greece in Southern Europe, on the Mediterranean Sea. The Ancient Greek recognized fair play as a rule in sports. But the first Olympics were a super show as they are today for millions of sports fans.
The 'Modern Olympics' grew from the Pan-Hellenic Games which begin in 1859. These periodic amateur athletic contests sparked international interest, but the idea of reviving the Olympic Games came from 'Baron Pierre de Coubertin' of France. Athens was selected as the site and 80,000 spectators witnessed the first rebirth of the Ancient Greek Games on April 6, 1896. Since then, the scope of sports involved has widened considerably, and these events have continued quadrennially with only three exceptions, the suspension was due to world wars.
In sports to win is the hope of every participant and also as for every competing nation. They work so hard with determination, perseverance and a high moral in every single competition. So is our world today, it seems that society has placed too much value on success or defeat. Since the genuine "Spirit of Sports" should resemble the Olympic Declaration of 1896; "In the Olympic Games, the most important thing is to participate, and not winning". The target is to compete well with your very best, to demonstrate the talents God gave you so that, you will not be disappointed or discouraged in winning or losing!
Serious sportsmen and women should never dream only to win instead one should discipline to have the good sporting spirit. "Play not to win the prize, but to win the spirit." The most important goal in life is to work towards that which will last forever, not for that which will quickly fade away. You can have a championship that will last forever. Eternal life is a free gift from God that we can freely receive by believing in Jesus, as this trophy is more precious than the Olympic medals that one may win in the Olympic Games.
"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" THE BIBLE!
* Dr. Thamsing Lamkang - Advisor, Nagaland Sports Coalition @ Sports Resource Center wrote this article for e-pao.net. He may be contacted at thams2000[AT]yahoo[DOT]co[DOT]uk.
This article was posted on August 07, 2012.
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