Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Internationalization of the Olympic Games

From the beginning, the games at Olympia served as a bond between Greeks and strengthened the Greek sense of national unity. During the Hellenistic period, Greeks who came to live in foreign surroundings such as Syria, Asia, and Egypt, strove to hold on to their culture. One of the ways to achieve this was to build athletic facilities and continue their athletic traditions. They organized competitions, and sent competitors from their towns to compete in the PanHellenic games.

In the 2nd century A.D., Roman citizenship was extended to everyone within the Roman Empire. From then on, the participation of many competitors from outside of Greece in the Olympic Games, gave them to a degree, international nature.

When the Greek government reinstated the games in 1896, this international character of the competitions was preserved by Baron de Coubertin. Now, 16 centuries later, the Olympic Games attract competitors from countries all over the world.

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