The most common picture that first comes to mind is the Ancient Olympics. When you think of the Olympics nowadays, you think of something much grander. The transition from the astounding days of the Ancient Greek Empire and its Olympics, to the urban and modernized version of it today, has been a long, but beautiful one. The Olympic olive wreath was the universal symbol along with the five rings in showing the prestige of the Ancient Olympics. It symbolized how far in terms of athletics that we, the human race, have come since the first days of serious competitions.

There are almost, at least what seems to be, and infinite number of similarities and differences between the joyous Olympics that we celebrate nowadays, and the serious and competitive Olympics from the time of the Ancient Greeks. All athletes, were and still are, very competitive ones. Today, we see athletes like Michael Phelps competing for the gold and earning medals. Another huge similarity is that both the Ancient Olympics and the Modern Olympics had awarding systems. Today, top athletes get gold medals for first places, silver for second place, and a bronze for a third place finish.

Athletes during the Ancient Greek era, received an olive wreath, which was cut from a wild olive tree. This meant that the olive wreaths not only showed a championship for the bearer, but it showed pride, and it almost always brought good luck for the city that he hailed from. [1] Athletes from today, usually go on to become famous, and most end up acting in movie, commercials and TV shows. This is a significant change; from only a few thousand spectators and virtually no fame, to millions of dollars and thousands of fans.

Although there were a lot of similarities, the Modern and Ancient Olympics also had their fair share of differences. A great, big difference between the two is the existence of the Winter Olympics. During the course of the Ancient Olympics, if you were to walk up to a man and ask him where the Winter Olympics were, he would look at you like you were crazy. There’s a perfectly good reason of why he would to that. Back then, there were no Winter Olympics. [2] It was never cold enough, and there was never enough snow in Olympia and the areas surrounding it.

Nowadays, if you had asked someone where the Winter Olympics were taking place, they would tell you, because nowadays, there are Winter Olympics held every four years, two years after every Summer Olympic event. The main point is that to add the Winter Olympics, takes a long time to add, but we got it done and that has been a great achievement and change. A person could also interpret the Olive Wreath as a sign of birth for the Winter Olympics. In terms of events, the Ancient Olympics and the Modern Olympics were rarely similar.

The only similarity in terms of events that exists between the Ancient Olympics and the Modern Olympics, were the races. That is the only event that both the Ancient and Modern Olympics have in common. Another similarity that in my opinion, is a real focal point, is that both the Ancient and Modern Olympics are celebrations of something. In the case of the Ancient Olympics in Olympia, the Olympics were held as a celebration in honor of their Gods. Nowadays, we have a more peaceful reason in celebrating the Olympics. Think about being an athlete with your eye fixed on one single goal.

Imagine going into the gym every day to train relentless through multiple injuries, and through family members getting angry that you’re not home often enough. You have been training for years for this one moment of competing not with people from your country, but from people all around the world. Also, at the Olympics, there is one of the most peaceful vibes around. All the athletes leave common day problems like racism at home. No one cares what country you’re from, or why your country is in a war with another one; they all come together just for the love of the sport.

Once you think about it, it is very rare to be in a place where people set their differences aside. Each person shows desire and love that is unmatchable for their sport, all of their hard work goes into that important hour of competitions. This is why the Olympics for us is such a great celebration. The Olympics in Ancient Greece still had even more differences with the Modern Olympics. The Modern Olympics have thirty to forty or even more events. The Ancient Olympics only had only four to seven events though. [3] Back then, there were a lot of restrictions for entering into the Olympics; and just to flat out watch the Olympics.

Only free men who spoke Greek could compete in the Olympics. The Salt Lake City Olympics featured 2600 athletes from 77 countries. Only a few hundred athletes participated in the ancient games. [4] In addition that, if any women were seen disguised as men while watching the events, she would be executed immediately. [5] The Ancient Olympics had a ceremony or ritual that had to be performed on the third day. It was mandatory that all the people would join together and sacrifice one hundred oxen in honor of Zeus. [6] In its entirety, I think that this was overkill by the Olympian people.

I respect the fact that they are worshipping their God, but to me, that is a little bit rough on the oxen. If you look at the Olive Wreath from a religious perspective like the one that was mentioned, you can tell that it can also be a sign of how Greek religion has progressed and changed. It can be proven that Greek religion has changed because in 2004, Greeks did not do anything close to killing one hundred oxen. I think that a huge change for the good is the fact that unlike the Ancient Olympic Games, the Modern Olympics shift from country to country every time they are held.

This is very helpful to the cause of the Olympics because it promotes the coming together of people, peace and harmony. Back during the Ancient Olympics, the competitors competed so fiercely that there wasn’t really that much time for friendliness and to think about how they all loved the sport they competed in so much. Newly certified doctors received an olive wreath also because it was considered a cure-all plant. In ancient Rome, the Emperor Tiberius always wore an olive wreath during thunderstorms or bad weather, because he believed that it would protect him from the Gods’ rage, expressed in the throwing around of thunder and lightning.

So, in conclusion the goal and the prize for Olympic athletes during the ancient time was the olive wreath. [7] The Olympic victor was crowned with an olive wreath and had his name inscribed in the official Olympic records. [8] Olympic Champions became heroes through the eyes of the people, and Olympic winners brought great honor to their cities, who, in thanks, would feed them for the rest of their lives even though they were never paid. [9] However, the symbolism of the wreath on the athletes head was the greatest reward, and far superior to the food.

The Olive Wreath can be looked at today as one of the most time-defying symbols of the Olympics ever. The uniqueness in the Olive Wreath is that you can look at it from a physical perspective, a religious perspective and even in a perspective in which it shows how far we’ve come. It is almost as if it brings the winds of change.


Bonefas, Suzanne, and Maria Daniels. The Olympic Events. June 15, 1996. http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/Olympics/index. html (accessed November 4, 2010). Guttman, Allen. “The Olympics. ”

In A History of the Modern Games, 50-52. Chicago: Illini Books, 1993. Jackson, Christina. Olympics: Ancient Greece vs. Present day. May 23, 2007. http://period8dolzall. tripod. com/olympics. html (accessed November 4, 2010). Kliko, Liza.

The History of Laurel Wreath. June 14, 2007. http://www. liza-kliko. com/laurel-wreath/greece. htm (accessed November 4, 2010). Mattern, James, and Joanne Mattern. “Behind The Scenes At The Olympics. ” 6-7. Logan: Perfection Learning Corporation, 2003. Watterson, John Sayle.

Top 6 Differences Between the Ancient and Modern Olympics. August 14, 2000. http://hnn. us/articles/572. html


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