The ancient Olympic Games were originally a festival or celebration of Zeus. The Olympic Games began in the southwest of Greece at Olympia. Dated to 776 BC, and the games were held every 4 years, or “Olympiad”, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies. The games were staged in the wooded valley in Olympia in Elis, A local region which was part of Olympia. Here the Greeks erected statues and built temples in a grove dedicated to Zeus, supreme among the gods. The greatest shrine was an ivory and gold statue of Zeus On the middle day of the games, 100 oxen would be sacrificed to him. Who were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games? Participants in the Olympic Games were quite restrictive. Not only were women forbidden from competing personally, married women and even barred from watching the Games, under penalty of death. One exceptions were made for women could enter their horses in events if they were the owners. Only 3 men who could speak Greek were allowed to compete. However, kings, royalty, and philosophers alike were allowed to enter so long as they fit the criteria. Men competed in the nude completely because the games were also a way of celebrating the human form. This could also be the reason why married women were not allowed to participate or be spectators. At first the Olympic Games was a one-day affair with only one event known as the stadion. The stadion race, was a short sprint of over about 190 metres. This was the only event until 724 BC, when a two-stadia race was added, and 4 years later, the 24-stadia event began. But overtimes, new excited games were added. Pentathlon, wrestling, boxing, four-horses chariotrace, Pankration, Hoplite race, Mule-cart race, Two horse chariot race, Competition for heralds and trumpeters. The program gradually increased
to twenty-three contests although no more than twenty featured at any one Olympiad.