12-011 Birth of The Modern Olympics I
Saturday May 18, 2013
Lead: Born of optimism about the human spirit and steeped in nineteenth century ideals of progress, the modern Olympics were designed to promote international good will, healthy living and peace. It did not always work out that way.
Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.
Content: Ever since Coro‘ebus, a young El’ean cook, prevailed in the 200-meter dash in 776 B.C., the Olympic games have been a source of inspiration and controversy. For more than a thousand years, each quadrennial, spectators and athletes, fans and opportunists would make the uncomfortable summer journey to the shrine of the god Zeus for the games. They were held on the Olympian plain in the northwest corner of Greece’s Peloponnesian peninsula.
Despite the success of the spectacle, the Romans, who absorbed Greece in the middle years of the second century B.C., found the games a bit unseemly. The idea of stripping naked and competing in public was offensive to Latin sensibilities and the popularity of the games faded. Christian Emperor Theodosius I or his son as part of an anti-pagan campaign terminated them permanently sometime around 400 A.D.
The modern games emerged from the ideas and efforts of several people. Though many see the year 1896 as the genesis point of the current round of Olympics, the year 1859 is probably closer to the mark. At that time Evangelis Zappas founded a series of Greek Olympic festivals. His work coincided with that of William Penny Brookes, a physician from the village of Much Wenlock, in the English midlands not far from Birmingham. He had had been promoting local games for several and took them national in the first British Olympiad in London in 1866. Yet, the best-known architect of the modern games was a Frenchman, Pierre, Baron de Coubertin. His tireless advocacy restored the Olympics. Next time: …’Chiefly to please me.’
At the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.
“100 years: a history of the Summer Games from Athens to Atlanta.” Time, Summer 1996 v148 n1 p10 (19). Time Inc., New York, 1996.
Biddiss, Michael. “Faster, Higher, Stronger: the Birth of the Modern Olympics,” Historian [Great Britain] 50 (1996): 2-7.
Brown, Douglass A. “Pierre de Coubertin’s Olympic exploration of Modernism, 1894-1914” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, June 1996 v67 n2 p121 (15). American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 1996
Graham, Peter J. and Horst Ueberhorst, The Modern Olympics. Cornwall, N.Y.: Leisure Press, 1976.
Grenier, Richard “Olympic Myths: the most celebrated information about the sport is that the Olympics in ancient times were an amateur affair” National Review, July 29, 1996 v48 n14 p52 (1). National Review Inc., 1996.
“History of the Modern Olympics” Australian Sports Web – Sport Information: Olympic Factsheets http://www.ausport.gov.au/info/factsheets/mod.html
Kieran, John and Arthur Daley. The Story of the Olympic Games, 776 B.C. – 1952 A.D. Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1952.
Mollins, Carl “Who’s Games are they? (History of the Olympics)” Maclean’s, Feb 3, 1992 v105 n5 p58 (2). Maclean Hunter Canadian Publishing Ltd., 1992.
Tandon, D.K. “The Politics of the Games and the Games as politics” The Tribune, Nov 18, 2001 http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20011118/spectrum/main2.htm
Young, David C. “The Origins of the Modern Olympics: A New Version,” International Journal of the History of Sport [Great Britain] 4 (3, 1987): 271-200.
Copyright 2013 by Dan Roberts Enterprises, Inc.
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