I like to figure things out on my own. I’ll do some trial and error and try to logically deduce problems or questions before resorting to looking things up. It may take longer to solve, but I think you learn more or at least a funny anecdote. So, here is my “knowledge” of how the games began.
Why are sports in the Olympics in the Olympics? Not counting the plethora of new ones added over the course of the history of the Olympics (Skateboarding was first introduced in 300 BC, but the togas kept getting stuck in the wheels), but the original sports.
The Olympics started as a way to show off athletic prowess. Women were not allowed (for way too long) because the men didn’t think they were capable and were worried that the women would prove them wrong (they did).
Many of the skills were handy to have in day-to-day life, and because men have an annoying habit of always showing off, it was inevitable that it would turn into a competition.
- Sprinting: When hunting, if charged by a wild animal, the fastest runner had a really good story to tell when they got back to camp.
- Hurdles: Same deal, but when there is shrubbery in the way.
- Steeplechase: When your dog gets off leash and chases after the rabbit.
- High Jump: Sometimes you lock yourself out of the walled city.
- Long Jump: Before the advent of bridges.
- Triple Jump: There’s always one person who has to one-up everyone else. “Ya, so you jumped over the creek, but can you do this?”
- Pole Vault: When castles had moats, and you just had to get in.
- Shotput: The siege of walled cities took a long time. Finally, someone said, “You know, this is not working out like we planned, and my arm is getting tired.”
- Discus: This was an earlier version of Ultimate, but there is always someone chucking it way too hard.
- Javelin: There is some contention about the original purpose of this. Some think it started on the battlefield, but it’s just a game of fetch.
- Swimming: Not introduced in the first years of games because the Greeks were scared of sharks and stepping on sea urchins.
I think there are a few more, but I need time to think about it…
Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.