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- History


- Sports' names


- Sporting idioms


- Talking sport


- Can you win?
Statues of men playing sports in ancient Greece
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The Olympic Games are believed to have begun more than 3,000 years ago, although written records only exist from 776 BC.

The records show that these Games consisted of activities that were the skills of soldiers, like boxing, javelin throwing and marathon running. At just over 26 miles (or 42 kilometres) long, the marathon is the longest race run in the Games. It is named after the site of a battle in ancient Greece. According to legend, a Greek messenger ran from Marathon to Athens to bring news of the Greek victory and died of exhaustion just after giving his message.

The ancient Olympic Games continued for nearly 1,200 years until the Roman Emperor, Theodosius I, abolished the Games because of their pagan influences.

About 1,500 years later, in 1894, the Frenchman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, helped to re-establish the Games. He also created the structure of the modern Olympic Movement.

Nowadays the aim of the Olympic Movement is to promote peace, friendship and understanding between different nations through sport.

The first modern Olympic Games were held in Greece in 1896. Just over 200 men, representing 14 countries, competed in a total of 43 events. Winners received a silver medal, a certificate and a crown of olive leaves. Runners-up were given bronze medals and a crown of laurel, while those who finished third went home empty-handed.

The Olympic Games are held every four years with one country being responsible for the organisation of the event. There is often fierce competition to be the host city. In 2008, Beijing hosts the Games and in 2012 they will be held in London.

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the site of a battle
the place where a battle happened

a very old story that may be based on facts

the state of being so tired that you have no energy left


pagan influences
being affected by beliefs that are not connected with any of the main religions of the world

a group of people who share the same ideas or opinions

an aim is something that a person or group of people want to achieve

through sport
if you do something through another thing, you use that thing to achieve another. Here, the Olympic Movement is using sport to promote peace between nations

here, the people who come second in a race or game. Usually a runner-up is a person or team who do not finish first but do win a prize

a crown
a circular ornament for the head, usually made of gold and jewels which kings and queens wear at official ceremonies

went home empty-handed
did not receive anything. This phrase is used here to show the difference between the early Games and the new Games where people who finish in third place receive a bronze medal
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