– THE OLYMPIC MARATHON –
-> Sport is full of wonderful moments, but perhaps nothing is as exciting as the finish of the marathon. It is the longest, hardest race of all. The name ‘marathon’ comes from a village in Greece. A famous war was fought there in the year 490 BC.
When the Greeks won the war, a soldier ran all the way from Marathon to Athens (more than 40 km.) to tell the people the good news. The organisers of the first modern Olympic games in 1896 decided to include the marathon in the games so that this event would not be forgotten. The marathon has been a race since then.
At first the Olympic Games were part of a festival. The Greeks had this festival once in every four years in Olympia. Athletes from Greece, Cyprus, Sicily, etc. went there to participate in the games. These games
were very important to the Greeks. They even stopped their wars for them.
The modern Olympic Games were started again in 1896 in Athens.
However, only 300 athletes from 12 countries went there to participate in the games. Since then, of course, the games have become much more popular. Only male athletes participated in the early Olympic Games. In the 1923 Olympics in Amsterdam an important change took place. Female athletes participated for the first time.
We all know that only amateur athletes can participate in the Olympic Games. An amateur is someone who doesn’t earn any money from sport. But today it is difficult to say who is an amateur and who is not.
It is true that Olympic athletes never earn as much money as professional sportsmen. But they are often students or teachers of a sport and have to spend a lot of time training.
Their governments pay for their training, travel and pocket-money, because they want them to
win. Some people think that this changes the Olympics. They feel that
the games are now a political marathon.
– The Olympic Marathon in 1904 – Saint Louis –
The First Olympic Torch Marathon concluded in 1936