The Olympics Essay

3933 words - 16 pages

Ancient and Modern Olympics According to popular error, the Olympic competition is purely a tribute to physical prowess alone. A boorish individual establishes this casual observation upon sighting the obvious athletic talent that exists in every participating athlete, while ignoring the underlying Olympian spirit or philosophy that has been consistent since the advent of the first Olympics in 776. While it is clear that individual athletes die, the spirit of the Olympics cannot. Even when the Olympic games were terminated under the onslaught of a disseminating Christian philosophy, and were later revived in the nineteenth century, the modernization of the Olympics failed to contort the spirit of competition, and the drive for excellence that existed amongst athletes, and of nations.The ancient Olympics nevertheless, differed from the Modern Olympics in many specific ways that were outside of human nature. The social climate of the ancient Greek Olympics reflected on gaming( intellectual and physical), gender policies, training/education, and the penalties and rewards for performance, differently than the modern Olympics did. The political climate of the ancient Greek Olympics, reflected on ethnocentric trends, commercial markets, militarism and pacifism, differently than the modern Olympics did. The spiritual climate of the ancient Greek Olympics reflected on religion, mythology, and Olympic symbolism differently than the modern Olympics did. Thus, socially, politically, and spiritually, the Greek Olympics differed from the modern Olympics.The Greeks approached gaming in the Olympics, with a different philosophy than exists today. The Greeks did not limit the Olympics strictly to athletic competition. In fact, competition involved artistic composition in the form of poetry, music, or dance. Often the subject of composition (Epinician poems for example) immortalized the athlete. Due to the auspicious cultural development experienced in Olympia, the "godly" city-state, an ideal location for the Olympics could exist.The Greeks also favored individual competition, as opposed to team sports which were less frequently observed. The emphasis on individual athletic achievement through public competition was related to the Greek ideal of excellence, called arete. Aristocratic men and younger members of the nobility strove for both intellectual and athletic excellence, as a means of securing a high social standing, and also to bring honor to a native polis (city state). If an athlete failed to live up to popular expectation, shame and disgrace were destined to victimize the athlete. In the modern Olympics, the development of the Olympic Creed preserves an athlete's basic right to happiness by emphasizing that the most important thing about competition is not in winning or losing, but in the struggle itself.When the Greeks established their first Olympics(776 B.C.), it lasted for a period of only one day, and consisted of only running. By 500 B.C.,...

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