The Ancient Olympiads

The Olympic Century

Book 1
Warwick Press Inc.
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Beginning with a single running race on the plains of Olympia, Greece, the original Olympic Games endured for almost twelve centuries and grew to become one of the most important cultural achievements of the ancient world. The Ancient Olympiads: Bridges to the Modern Era, the first volume in The Olympic Century series, tells the story of the ancient Games, from their founding in 776 B.C. to their dissolution in 393 C.E. by the Roman Emperor Theodosius.

Legend holds that the Olympics were founded by Heracles (Hercules to the Romans), son of the god Zeus, but classical historians believe they were actually a religious festival celebrating the physical ideal. The book explores how the Games grew from simple running contests into a range of events designed to test the strength and fighting skills of young men from the city states of ancient Greece. Every four years a truce was called so that athletes would gather at Olympia to compete in javelin, discus, wrestling, running and chariot racing, with the winners receiving an olive branch in recognition of their achievement. The book discusses how this ancient celebration of sport encouraged physical fitness, spread culture and learning and helped to promote peace throughout the region, and how these ideals live on in the Modern Olympic Movement.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Warwick Press Inc.
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Published on
Nov 18, 2015
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Pages
469
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ISBN
9781987944006
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Language
English
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Genres
Sports & Recreation / Olympics & Paralympics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, hoped to cement the future of the Games with a triumphant celebration of the second Olympiad in his native Paris in 1900. The II Olympiad-Paris 1900, the third volume in The Olympic Century series, tells the story of a fledgling movement caught up in the whirlwind of the greatest city of the age at the height of the Belle Epoch.

The backdrop for the book is the decadent Paris of the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergeres, the art of Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse and Gauguin, and the revolutionary “Metro” with its now iconic Art Nouveau architecture. The Games would be contested over five months and subsumed into the 1900 Exposition Universelle, a concurrent celebration of art, culture and technology. Alongside typical events like athletics, gymnastics and swimming, The II Olympiad explores unlikely events like auto racing, ballooning and croquet that characterized the Paris Games.

In the wake of the confusion of Paris, the focus of the book shifts to the war for control that would threaten the very survival of the Games. But while the fate of the Games was in doubt, an enterprising Swedish sportsman named Viktor Gustav Balck created an event that would have long-term implications for the Olympic movement. The book concludes with a detailed look at Balck’s Nordic Games, first staged in Stockholm in 1901, and draws a direct line to the ultimate creation of the Winter Olympics, first celebrated in Chamonix, France in 1924.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

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