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The Olympic Games can be portrayed as the greatest international sports event in the world. They are based on the Olympic idea of friendship, fraternity and cooperation among the people of each and every country on planet Earth. Despite our current idea of the Olympic Games, they have not always been as they are today.
The Ancient Olympic Games date back to 776 B.C. These games were a Greek festival held every four years in honour of God Zeus in Olympia (Greece). The Olympic Games were so important that during these four years all wars were put on hold. The Ancient Olympic Games included competitions such as wrestling or foot racing. They were not only a sports event but also an art festival where poets recited poems and singers sang songs in honour of Zeus.
In the Ancient Olympic Games competition, all athletes took part completely naked. The word "gymnastics" originates from the Greek word "gymos" which means "naked". It is also worth mentioning that only men were allowed to participate or watch the games. Women were relegated to other less important games named Gerai after the goddess Gera.
In the 4th century AD, Theodosius (the Roman emperor of the time) banned all pagan festivals. Unfortunately, as the Ancient Olympic Games were dedicated to Zeus, they were considered pagan. As a result, the games stopped being celebrated in 395 AD.
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