Ancient Greece is considered by many people to be the most advanced civilization of the ancient world. The Greeks have contributed to modern culture in many ways. One of the most important contributions made by the Greeks was their establishment of sports. Today many societies and universities including ours here at Chapman base their sports all the way back to the Greek Olympics.

They have given our culture the basis of sports as an important part of life. Many of our present days athletic events are modeled on those of ancient Olympics, the first Olympics date back to the Greek civilization where it all began. The ancient Olympics were different from the modern Games. There were a lesser amount of events, and not everyone who wanted to could compete. The Olympics lasted only 5 days. Women couldn’t even be spectators. On the first day they would sacrifice animals for the sake Zeus. The Greeks also praised their other gods like Apollo.

The games back then did not have a marathon. The modern Olympics anyone who wants to compete is allowed to as long as they are able to get certain requirements needed to qualify at an event. For example, women in modern times are
allowed to compete in almost every athletic event held in the Olympics. In ancient Greece people from only Greece where aloud to compete. In contrast, in modern times athletes all over the world compete in sports.

Chapman University has a football team that plays in front of a large crowd of people. Greek Olympics where the first traced events where a large number of people went to watch their favorite athletes and stars. In Chapman people root their home team because they feel that it’s a part of them. In Greece people would go and watch their hometown hero and root them on to victory. The Greek events and Olympics would be held in large stadiums. The number of spectators attending the Ancient Olympics is not known. There is no record but historians believe it was a large amount of people that went to watch their athletes compete. Women where banned from attending such events otherwise death penalty would result for such an offense. Spectators came from all over Greece to the valley to Olympia.

There were no permanent houses or hotels there, the visitors would set up tents and camp out during the games. In addition to the athletics, there were many other amusements. There were entertainers who stuck fire down their mouth. Besides the entertainment there where also food stands where the people would go and eat. This is still a custom at Chapman because whenever there is a football game or soccer game people fill the stadium to watch. Fans watch their favorite sports athletes and sometimes look at them like heroes. Sports stars are an inspiration to a lot of people; this way of thinking can be traced back all the way back to Greece.

Athletes who accomplished great feats would be looked on as supernatural, and sometimes would even consider them direct descents from the Greek “gods”.

Modern athletes compete because it’s human nature to compete against other humans. They compete because they want to accomplish what no other person has ever done
before. People strive to be the best because that’s the closest thing to “god-like”. When athletes succeed; they dedicate their victory to something or someone. In Ancient Greece this can be seen in the Olympics. The Athletes of Greece competed for their God Zeus. Religion was a big impact in the lives of the Greek athletes.

The first evidence that an athlete was paid or rewarded dates back to the Greek culture. Many awards were routinely given as prizes at most of the athletic festival sites all over the Greek world. Athletic events were established as parts of religious festivals honoring heroes, gods, or battles.

The site of all events where in Olympia, it’s about 15 kilometers from the sea. Olympia is located on a grassy plain. Olympia had a variety of buildings where the athletes would compete and train. The more famous buildings were the gymnasium, a stadium, and hippodrome. There was an alter where it is believed by the Greeks had a lightning bolt that Zeus sent down from the heavens. A temple of Zeus was also located in Olympia.

Athletes who won at any of these games could be assured of great wealth and power when they returned home. Many Olympic victors received a free meal every day for the rest of their lives, like a reward for their great athletic accomplishments. This type of behavior can be seen in professional sports nowadays. Athletes are getting paid a lot of money to play professional sports. Most of the athletes get paid and get other beneficiaries from being a

great athlete. Some athletes are getting treated like kings very much the same way Greeks treated their sports stars. Pensions for athletes became more formalized and could actually be bought and sold. There were no amateur athletes in ancient Greece, but there were no professional athletes either, all were simply athletes.

The ancient Olympics included had a footraces and even a race with shields, but there was no marathon. Without weight classes or time limits, bigger athletes dominated. By the sixth century athletes were specializing in particular events and hiring coaches. Training was intensive and there were experiments and fads concerning diet, exercise, and sex. Other events included jumping weights, discus, or javelin. The rules of ancient Greece were very strict, ancient Olympians sought unfair compensation and cheated. As early as the sixth century the judges at Olympia were establishing rules against cheating in wrestling. This kind of judging can be said today in modern sports, for example, referees in soccer are a type of judge that enforce the rules with penalties. In Chapman University teachers play the same role as judges of the Olympic period. Without the judges there would be no one to enforce the rules.

When the collapse of Greek civilization took place; there was a lost of interest in sports. The fall of the empire came when Romans took over. People’s attention turned from athletics to books. Many athletes where turned into slaves.
The Olympics were important in establishing athletics in our society and our culture. Modern Americans are into athletics very much like the Greeks. They helped establish sports. Sports give you a strong body and mind. Thanks to the Greeks every four years the attention turns to the Olympics which is the only time when the world comes together.