Olympic Games Go Back 2788 Years
As the excitement builds “across the pond” and around the world with preparations in high gear for the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London we are all completely wrapped up in the excitement here at Celsius! We decided to look back at the history of the Olympic Games from Ancient Greece to modern times. What we discovered is that the pursuit of physical fitness is deeply rooted back to antiquity.
The earliest recorded history of the Olympic Games dates back to 776 B.C. in Ancient Greece where the pursuit of physical fitness was taken literally to epic proportions. Greek art celebrated the human body and athleticism. The Greeks military which would facilitate the creation of a vast empire that at its height expanded an estimate 2 million square miles required incredible physical and mental strength of its men. To the Greeks physical and mental strength were inseparable. The Olympic Games tied to religious festivals of the cult of Zeus celebrated the ideals of the Greek Empire as well as the accomplishments of its athletes. The Olympics were celebrated continuously for nearly (if not more than) 12 centuries from 776 B.C. to 393 A.D. All free male Greek citizens were eligible to compete in the Olympic Games and many philosophers poets and statesmen took part.
Modern Olympics Rooted In Education Reform
A Frenchman named Pierre de Coubertin is credited with the creation of the modern Olympic Games. Coubertin dedicated his life to the reform of France’s education system and he placed a great emphasis on physical education in particular as the “springboard for moral energy.” After working for several years to garner support for his idea to revive the Olympics he formed the International Olympic Committee in 1894 and began planning the first modern Olympics which were held in Athens in 1896. In a ceremony at Olympus in 1927 Coubertin declared:
In the modern world full of powerful possibilities and menaced at the same time by perilous degradations Olympism can constitute a school of noblesse and moral purity as well as of endurance and physical energy on condition that the conception of honor and disinterest be continually raised to the height of the muscular ardor.”
Coubertin clearly envisioned the Olympic Games to be much more than a simple sports competition. He remained at the head of the International Olympic Committee for nearly 30 years.
As athletes from around the world journey to London spectators like us eagerly await the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics with a level of excitement shared around the world like no other event can inspire. Few of us could even articulate what it is that so inspires and joins us together as a nation and as citizens of the world to celebrate these athletes. Maybe it is the ideal of physical strength tied so closely to mental and moral strength that moves us. Maybe it is the “noblesse” of Olympism that Coubertin recognized was missing in the world in the late 1800’s.
Every four years the Olympics are celebrated again to remind us all that physical strength is the result of so much more than just physical training. Here at Celsius we are excited to cheer on all of the athletes who will be representing the United States in the games. We also celebrate the tremendous hard work strength and “noblesse” of every athlete competing as well as the ideal of Olympism that still inspires the world today.