Olympic Games Rich in History

Article excerpt

Byline: J. Hope Babowice

You wanted to know

John Balke, 9, of Libertyville wanted to know:

Why did the Greeks introduce the Olympic games?

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For further information ...

.. about the Olympics, Cook Memorial Library in Libertyville suggests

- "The Mud Flat Olympics" by James Stevenson

- "The Olympic Glow" by Barbara Birenbaum

- "The Story of the Olympics" by Dave Anderson

- "Celebrate the Spirit" by Cleve Dheensaw

- "Olympics!" by B.G. Hennessy

Web site:

The U.S. Olympic Committee at http://www.ngano.olympic.org

The Chicago Wolves at http://www.chicagowolves.com

Almost everyone can hum the first few notes of the Olympic anthem, and with it conjure up the image of thousands of athletes entering an Olympic stadium holding flags from a host of nations.

Did you know that the Olympics date back to 776 B.C. in Athens, Greece?

"Why did the Greeks introduce the Olympic games?" asks John Balke, 9, a third-grader at Libertyville's Butterfield School.

The word "Olympic" derives from those first ancient games. Olympia was a district in ancient Elis where the Olympic games were held. The Olympiad was the four-year interval between the games.

Leon Marinakos of Chicago is the honorary cultural attache to the consulate of Greece and an expert on the ancient games.

"At that time, society promoted and admired good physical development. They were lovers of physical beauty. The Olympic games were one way of showcasing the perfect human body. The athletes would train for months," he said.

Today's games continue the tradition established by the ancient Greeks to foster the ideal of sound mind and body.

Not much must have changed in 2,700 years since today's athletes also train for months before the competitions. Trials are beginning this month for the selection of the U. …