HISTORY OF THE OLYMPICS LESSON
Print the History of the Olympics reading
comprehension passage and questions (see
Students should read the story silently,
then answer the questions about the story that follow.
Excerpt from passage
Almost everyone knows what the Olympics are. Every four years in the summer and two years in the winter the entire world comes together to compete in an act of good sportsmanship to see who the best man
or woman is. However, the Olympic Games have changed a considerable amount from the days when they began.
When the Olympic Games began they were first held in the Greek city of Olympia every four years. These games were held and allowed all free Greek men to compete. Women were prohibited from competing in the Olympic Games. In fact, most women were not even allowed to attend this festive event. The first competition was held in 776 B.C. and the final competition was held in 393 A.D. after being canceled by the Christian Emperor, Theodosius I.
The Olympic Games did not start out with the many events that are played today. Originally there was only one event. The stade was a 200 yard race and it was the only event played in the Olympics for the first 13 games. The 14th Olympic Games brought a new event with it. This time there was the stade and the diaulos, which is a 400 yard foot race. The next year there was another new event that was added which was also based around running.
Although little is known for sure, there are written accounts of boxing being added to the games by 688 B.C. in order to honor Patroklos, a friend of Achilles that had died. By the 18th Olympic ceremony the pentathlon was created. This event was a mix of skills that included discus, long jump, running, wrestling, and javelin. These five events and boxing rounded out the extent of the physical trials that would be tested during the games.
One of the main differences between the Olympics of today and when they were created is the religious components that were present. Present during the games was a large gold and ivory statue of the Greek God, Zeus. This statue later became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. (continued...)
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