Among the many things that we owe to the Greeks, no less important is the creation of sporting competitions. The Greeks held the Olympic Games for over a thousand years, then the Olympics disappeared for more than 1600 years, and we have recovered them only a hundred years ago.
Currently held every four years, somewhere in the world, the Olympic Games take place. The most important cities or the most emerging ones of the planet compete for its organization. No other sports event has as much interest and healthy competitiveness as the Olympics. And they are watched by thousands of millions of citizens. For a few weeks everything revolves around the Olympics and humans seem to forget the quarrels and cultivate their best qualities.
Like so much else, we owe the Olympics to the Greeks and therefore we owe the sport as a peaceful and physical contest that eventually would leaved its religious connotations. Like all aristocratic and warrior society, their young soldiers or make the war or do they train for it (with adequate competitive exercises).
These competitions are held at specific times within a religious festival in honor of a particular god or the funeral of a chieftain or warrior hero and therefore have a sacred character. Games are an opportunity to keep alive the heroic and chivalrous spirit of the Homeric heroes, expressed by the Greek term "arete", when the winner does not kill the vanquished and keeps his belongings, but respect the opponent.
Although athletes compete individually, cities move their national rivalries to games and are proud of them.
The Olympic Games were held in honor of Zeus at Olympia city in the fertile basin of the river Alpheus, in Greek Elis. These athletic contests in Olympia are really centuries old. The tradition and myth awarded Herakles with his creation because he organized a race in gratitude to Zeus for the victory that took over King Augeas. Hercules fixed a distance of 600 of his own feet, making this a stadium length (192.27 m.). So today the "stadiums" are the sports facilities where competitions are held. Some "stadiums" are great and remarkable works of architecture.
In the year 864 BC a treaty was signed by Iphitus for the Eleos, Lycurgus for Sparta, and Cleóstenes for Pisa to approve the famous Sacred Truce for three months that prevented war and declared inviolable territory of Olympia and guaranteed the safety of pilgrims and athletes who came competing two months before the games begin.
These games in these conditions are an essential element in the sense of community among Greek polis or city-state so assiduously practiced clashes between them.
In the year 776 BC were held the first Olympic Games that were officially recorded. This had great significance, since it served to initiate a new era or historical account of time thereafter.
The heydays corresponds to the V and IV, classical period after passing the previous archaism, when monarchical and aristocratic regimes are were succeeded democracy, epitomized by Athens.
These Olympic Games (there were others in other cities dedicated to other gods) were the religious festival and sports and cultural competition most important in Greece. The olive wreath, award for victory, was the most coveted trophy for a Greek.
The Olympics were held every four years without interruption since the year 776. BC. until 394 AD, when the Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius banned them considering them a cult and pagan rite. Christianity, which incorporated many pagan things to his creed and ritual, preferred to delete the Olympics. In fact the Olympic spirit had disappeared earlier and the Games had fallen sharply. However they had survived virtually steadily 1170 years (the question that arises is what happened in the Olympics between 265 and 286, because they are not preserved lists of winners for this era).
We have taken longer to recover in the modern era, exactly 1,500 years.