chapter  Chapter 5
18 Pages

The origins of the Olympics

ByJohn Horne, Garry Whannel

The 1870 Games in the restored stadium were the most successful of the Zappas Olympics, with over 30,000 spectators, and enthusiastic reviews in the newspapers. The establishment of the modern Olympic Games in 1896 involved an invention of tradition, in which elements of the Ancient Greek Games, English public school education, nineteenth-century sport festivals, emerging cultures of physical education, and a contemporary French perspective were grafted together. Bill Mallon cites a multi-volume book on the Olympic Games, published in 1419, and points out that Shakespeare and Milton both mention the Olympic Games in their work, as do Goethe, K. Rousseau, and Byron. The Greeks made several attempts to revive Olympic Games from 1859 onwards. ‘Olympic’ games were organized for the students of a Dominican seminary near Grenoble in 1832, and continued to be held every two years until the twentieth century.