Ancient Greece's Olympic Games The oldest recorded records of the ancient Olympic Games date back to 776 B.C., when a chef named Coroebus won the first event, a 192-meter footrace known as the stade (the origin of the word "stadium"), to become the first Olympic champion. The other two events were footraces of 60 meters and 48 meters, respectively. There were no medal categories or tiebreakers at that early stage of the games. Only athletes who had competed in all four events could win a prize.
Over time, more than 20 different events were held at the Olympics. Some events, such as boxing and wrestling, have been included in every competition since their inception; others, like the marathon and pentathlon, were added later. Still other events, such as equestrianism and archery, were removed after one attempt only to be brought back years later. There are claims that the modern pentathlon and decathlon exist largely because of the Greeks, but these sports were not officially part of the original program of events at the Ancient Olympic Games.
The number of events held at each Olympiad varied over time, from as few as six (in 648 B.C.) to as many as 19 (in 392 A.D.).
The first known Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C. in Olympia in the Greek city-state of Elis, but the Olympics were at least 500 years old at the time. Every four years, the ancient Olympics were conducted at a religious event honoring the Greek deity Zeus. The original games included wrestling, boxing, and throwing events that were open to men from all over Greece.
In actuality, these were not true Olympics as we know them today because only free male citizens of Athens were allowed to take part. Women and slaves were excluded even though they made up a large portion of Athenian society. However, this was more than just a social issue for the Greeks at the time: Only males could serve in government positions, so inclusion of women and slaves would have significantly altered the balance of power between people.
Even with these limitations, these early games are considered important antecedents of modern sports because they were the first worldwide sporting events that anyone can participate in without being invited by someone else. Any young man who lived near the venue of one of the events could show up and try his luck at winning a prize. This aspect of the games makes them similar to today's sport events such as marathons and triathlons where anyone can participate regardless of gender or age.
Furthermore, the winners were honored with gifts from the city-states who sent competitors to compete in the games.
Stadion (or stade) was an ancient running event included in the Olympic Games and other Panhellenic Games. The stadion was the single event at the Olympic Games from 776 to 724 BC; the winner gave his name to the whole four-year Olympiad. Coroebus of Elis won the stadium at the first Olympic Games. He beat Pindarus of Sparta by a headstroke in a race that lasted for six hours. The first-place prize was a crown made of olive leaves and berries, which was probably not very luxurious.
At the Pythian Games, a festival of music, poetry, and drama held in honor of Apollo Pythius, one of the winners named the "stadium". This athlete won with a time of six minutes flat, and since the event had been introduced as a separate category, it is possible that he also won the stadium. However, since the events were run simultaneously and there was no official declaration of winners, it is also possible that Coroebus simply decided not to challenge this new record. Who knows? Maybe he was afraid to be beaten by a slave!
The first European football match played according to modern rules took place on 30 November 1874 between two teams from England and France. The game was held at the Paris Saint-Germain Academy (now called École Normale Supérieure) and ended in a 0-0 draw.