When the first Olympics began in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece, the only event was a 200-yard footrace. It was won by a young cook named Coroebus. For his prize, he got a head garland made of olive leaves. Contests in later years included wrestling, boxing, discus- and javelin-throwing, and chariot races.
Women were forbidden even to watch the games! But some women got around the rules by disguising themselves as men. A woman named Belisiche of Macedonia won a chariot race around 300 BC. (Women also held their own games.) The ancient games continued every four years for more than 1,000 years. A wealthy Frenchman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, revived them in 1896.
Try this quiz. If you get a perfect score, you deserve a gold medal!
(1) More than 100 years ago, the modern Olympics were first held in:
a) Rome, Italy
b) Athens, Greece
c) Paris, France
(2) This year, 11,000 runners - and one diver - are carrying the torch to Sydney. Which Olympiad began the torch tradition?
a) London, 1908
b) Los Angeles, 1932
c) Amsterdam, 1928
(3) Women athletes first appeared in the modern Olympics in Stockholm, 1912. They were limited to swimming and diving events. In what year did women compete in track and field?
a) 1920 (Antwerp, Belgium)
b) 1928 (Amsterdam)
c) 1932 (Los Angeles)
(4) Arguably the most demanding event of the Games consists of 10 running, jumping, and throwing events over a period of two days. Each contestant is awarded points for each event. The one with the highest point total is declared the winner of the:
(5) The Olympic flag shows five interlocking rings, each a different color, on a white background. (The colors - black, blue, yellow, red, and green - were chosen because at least one of those colors appears in the flag of every nation in the world.) The rings represent:
a) types of athletic endeavors
b) world's major continents
c) the major races of humanity
(6) The United States track and field star who won the gold medal in long jump in four summer Games is:
a) Al Joyner
b) Edwin Moses
c) Carl Lewis
(1) b; (2) c; (3) b; (4) c, the marathon is a 26-mile foot race; the triathlon (a new event this year) consists of swimming, biking, and funning;
(5) b; (6) c; 1984, '88, '92, and '96.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society