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THURROCK LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
3:56pm Wednesday 11th July 2012 in Club Call
SUSAN Yates, chairman of the society, gave the final talk of the 2011/2012 season on the history of the Olympic Games.
These were first held in 776BC in Greece in the Sacred Grove of Altis in the Kingdom of Elis and took place on one day. Here the Temple of Zeus was located and the Temple of Hera, mother of Zeus, where the winners were presented with a wreath of laurels. The winners also had the honour of a statue at Olympia.
The presentation of medals is a recent innovation. The games, for men only, were held every four years. There were various events such as chariot racing, pentathlon, running and wrestling.
In 393AD, King Theodosius I abolished the games and in 395AD the Goths invaded and destroyed many of the statues and temples. The site was left to fall into decay and was completely obliterated by floods, silt, mud and earthquake damage. Thanks to modern archaeology the site has been excavated and is a popular venue for tourists.
The first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896 in Athens. Susan gave a very detailed account of the highlights of the games and their venues, held every four years from 1900 to the 2008, except for during the World Wars.
The Olympic Flame was first lit in 1928 at Amsterdam and the first relay from Greece was in 1936 at the Berlin games. The talk was well illustrated, especially of the old Olympic site.
The society’s 2012/2013 season starts on September 21 with a talk on the 17th century housewife.