As a suggestion from one of our athletes, this year’s State Summer Games theme is about honoring the Ancient Olympic Games of 3,000 years ago.
Quick facts: The early Games took place in northern Greece (Olympia). Women were not permitted to compete or watch. The Olympic Games occurred every four years to honor the Greek God, Zeus. Athletes competed in javelin, sprinting, pentathlon, jumping, discus, wrestling, chariot racing, horse racing, and boxing. The word athlete in ancient Greek means “one who competes for a prize.” The orginal Olympic medals were silver. Athletes were presented with olive branches representing life, growth, and development. The Games served as a natural break between wars. Thousands of people stopped everything and flocked to Olympia for five days to watch the Games. The athlete oath was recited as a promise to Zeus that each athlete would compete with honor and respect. No fighting was allowed during the Games.
Like the Olympic Games of then our Special Olympics Games of now represent much of what is good in the world. As we travel from our communities, depart from our jobs and leave behind those things that bog us down – we gather in harmony and celebration. The Olympic spirit of ancient times continues to reside in ordinary people whose hearts swell when anyone from anywhere puts forth the best effort they have to offer. It is during those moments that stereotypes fade, understanding grows, and the power of the Games happens in all of us.
See you there.