The first Olympics, inspired by the Olympian Gods, was held in Greece in 776 BC. Centuries on, the game has been carried from country to country, through a range of wars, political developments, boycotts and above all, great human achievements.
120 years since the first modern Olympics took place in Athens in 1896, it makes you wonder how the games, including rules and requirements, have changed ever since.
Number of Nations Participating
Only 14 countries participated in the first-ever modern Olympics in Athens. At the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, 206 nations and over 11,000 athletes are expected to participate. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is also planning to form a Refugee Olympic Team again after its debut at Rio 2016.
However, the concept of representing a nation is quite an early one. The ancient Olympic games were only open to male Greek citizens of Greek city-states, which eliminated all foreigners, females, slaves, and children.
In 1896, the first modern Olympics allowed competitors of different nationalities to participate, but the theme of representing a national team was introduced at the Intercalated Olympic Games in 1906.
The Olympic Games are a 16-day long sporting event where athletes from around the world come together to compete in a variety of games. As mentioned, the Olympics date back to ancient Greece, but they were banned in 393 AD for promoting paganism due to their connection to the Greek God, Zeus.
In 1896, a French baron by the name of Pierre de Coubertin revived the games with the help of IOC, which governs their administration to this day.
Only male athletes could participate in the ancient Olympics, and women weren’t allowed to take part in the first modern Olympics. According to Pierre de Coubertin, the games weren’t suitable for female athletes, and that it’d be inappropriate for them to participate in the Olympics.
It wasn’t until a decade later that women could also take part in the Olympics. The rate of female athletes participating in the Olympic Games has been increasing ever since their first participation at the beginning of the 19th century.
Also, you’d be surprised to know that it wasn’t until the 2012 Olympics that female athletes competed in all sports held in the program. It was the first-ever Olympics where every single nation fielded female athletes.
Early in the history of the Olympics, rules against intaking performance-boosting substances existed with no enforcement of drug tests.
Source suggests that the first reported case of doping took place at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis when Tom Hicks, the American marathoner, was given strychnine and alcohol at the 22-mile mark by his couch.
From there, scientific advancements in amphetamine production and synthetic testosterone caused severe, unpredictable effects in male/female athletes who used them.
In 1968, IOC conducted the first official drug testing on those competing in that year’s Olympics to prevent the dangerous activity happening behind the scenes.
To draw the line between legal and illegal substance use, the World Anti-Doping Code was adopted in 2004, which set several anti-doping rules and testing strategies.
If you’re planning on participating in the next year’s Olympics, read this article to learn how to detox and clean your blood. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
How to Participate?
Taking part in the Olympics is every athlete’s dream. It requires a great amount of determination and years of practice and training.
First and foremost, athletes must comply with the Olympic Charter. They are required to follow the rules of the International Federation (IF) administering their sport. The IFs set the rules and organize qualifying events, whereas the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of an athlete’s country promotes the athlete and is responsible for registering them for the Olympics.
Every athlete from each nation must work through the Organizing Committee (OC) and the nations governing body for the particular sport they’re seeking to represent. For example, in America, if you seek to represent USA Swimming, you’ll have to compete at the Olympic Trials for the USA, and you must win the competition to represent your country in the Olympics.
You may not have made it this summer, and that’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. If you start preparing soon, you can be among the athletes competing in the next year’s Olympics. Don’t think you’re too old or in bad shape to make your dreams come true. Remember, the oldest Olympic medalist was 72!
Kathrin Garner is an enthusiastic journalist and writes article on social issues. As an activist, she takes part in NCSM program, which is a discussion platform on the relevant cannabis topics. So, if you want to know the best how to cleanse your body, feel free to contact her. Also, she is a volunteer at Marijuana Detox. She searches for current issues, and writes about it to a wide range of readers.