History Of Summer Olympics
The history of the Summer Olympics has several major milestones that molded the competition into the one we know today. Every four years athletes form around the world gather together to compete for their countries in a number of events ranging from basketball to track and field. What started as simply a part of ancient Greek festivals has grown to become a monumental event for the entire world.
The first recorded Olympic games were held in Ancient Greece around 824 B.C. but is was not until 776 B.C. that the Greeks began to hold them every four years. The first games only had a few races, but eventually added wrestling, boxing, chariot racing and the pentathlon, many of which are still a part of the Summer Olympics. The ancient games lived on in one form or another for almost 12 centuries, but ended around 400 A.D. only to be revived centuries later.
The modern Summer Olympics began in the mid-1800's when the Greeks held games small games in Athens. The International Olympic Committee was created near the end of the century and the first official Summer Olympics of the modern era were held in 1896, in Greece. The games then moved to Paris in 1900 and St. Louis in 1904. These games were mostly attended by athletes from the host countries, leading to low popularity of the games outside of the host country. The games held on and slowly began to gain popularity throughout the first half of the century. From only 500 entrants in 1896, there were over 11,000 participants in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
The Summer Olympics have been held consistently every four years since 1896, except for three games that were cancelled during the two World Wars. Winter sports were added in the 1920s, held in the winter after the Summer Olympics. In 1992, the games were moved to be held two years after the Summer Olympics, to help keep the games in the public mind.