Olympics: History and Legend

by Nayana Rodriguez


We all know what it is from the commercials that came on our TVs and phone screens this past summer glamorizing the city of Rio for hosting last year’s Olympics. When you think of the Olympics, the first thing that comes to mind is the five rings and the buzz about your favorite athlete rumored to win this year’s gold. But what if you heard that the Olympics is more than just your average sports competition? It is a deeply rooted landmark in history that isn’t clean of bloodshed, propaganda and shock.

According to the Penn Museum, the word “Olympics” stems from the word “Olympus,” mostly known for being the home of the twelve Olympians aka the Greek gods and goddesses. This title can’t help to pay homage to what the Olympics were originally made as dedication to the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece all the way back in 776 BC. They were staged in the plains of Olympia until 393 AD when Emperor Theosis declared all pagan cults banned after 12 centuries. There have been claims by archaeologists that the games might have gone back as far as 10 BC and 9 BC with new evidence. In 1896 the first worldwide Olympic games being the summer Olympics held in Athens Greece. Since then the Olympics have grown with new countries joining and merging with one another along with new rules being added.

Based on information from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, the Olympics weren’t just fun and games as in 1936 it was Berlin’s turn to host the games under the reign of the infamous Adolf Hitler. As his reign became stronger, many of the participating countries began to worry about how Hitler was handling hosting the games. With Germany building a new 100-seat track and field stadium along with six gymnasiums and more to outdo the previous 1932 Los Angeles games. This was the first game to be televised with radio broadcast reaching 41 countries. Germany used this publicity to their advantage and wrote in newspapers that they would forbid Jewish players to participate. However in the end they just kept their own athletes separate from others when a boycott was threatened. Not only that, but the broadcasting was quite poor with a large amount of blackouts on three different types of cameras. After that the games continued on with the hopes of learning from this experience and keeping the image of a peaceful bond between the countries participating. In World War 11 the 1944 games had to be cancelled along with the 1940 Olympics, which had been scheduled by a large member of the war in Tokyo, Japan.

Around 1968 the first ever Olympic mascot was born Grenoble with the appearance of a skier with the Olympic rings as their hair from a unknown creator, according to the IOC. Children were sold key chains with the mascot as giving birth to Olympic child merchandise. After that every country besides Tokyo in the 1970s had mascots with many being national animals to folklore to just weird such as “Whatizit” from the nineties all coming down to the Rio 2016 mascot a combination of the countries animals. Mascots are typically unveiled in the ending ceremony of the game with the Pyeongchang 2018 mascot being revealed to be the country’s well known white tiger. Also the mascots are drawn by various creatures by various people and a poll is held to the residents pick which one they like. Mascots are known to attract younger viewers and more hype for the games.

The Olympics all end with the grand voyage, the closing ceremonies. Every game it seems each country appears to be trying to out show one another with marching bands. Fireworks, air shows creating the rings, arrows of fire shot in the torch bowl and the decade old torch run created in Berlin’s Olympic games. Fans tend to get emotional with the mascots bidding them goodbye, some even crying (Mischa and “Nightmare bear” Polar Bear) when the game ends and a new mascot is unveiled along with the new location.


Works Cited

“Berlin 1936.” International Olympic Committee. N.p., 22 Feb. 2017. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

Committee, International Olympic. International Olympic Committee. International Olympic Committee, 14 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

“The Penn Museum.” Penn Museum. University of Pennsylvania Museum, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

PyeongChang 2018. CNN.Com, 2017. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.


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