The ancient origins of the Olympics

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THE Olympic Games are the world’s foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations competing for the gold.

The games stem from the Ancient Olympic Games, thought to have been held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th Century BC to the 4th Century AD.

But the Games’ importance waned as the Roman Empire became more of an influence and are thought to have ended in 393 AD.

But in the 19th century, interest in reviving the games began to grow after the Greek War of Independence and the country’s split from the Ottoman Empire in 1821. The idea gained momentum and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was eventually formed in 1890. In 1896, the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, and have run every four years since except for the 1916, 1940 and 1944 Games which were cancelled due to wars.

The last time London hosted the Olympics was in 1948, the first after World War II. The games were fittingly nicknamed ‘The Austerity Games’ as the world was still recovering from the war’s devastation.