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When did the Olympics start? How the modern Summer and Winter Games came to be.

The 2024 Summer Olympics are fast approaching. More than 800 athletes will head to Paris to compete as part of Team USA. The Games will include warm-weather sports like swimming and diving as well as fan favorites like football, basketball and tennis.聽

91影视 athletes will look to add gold, silver and bronze medals to the country鈥檚 current record of 3,105, more than double the medal count of any other country.聽

Here鈥檚 a history lesson on the modern Games and their ancient origins.

When did the Olympics start?

An exact date is unknown, but the International Olympic Committee cites 776 BC as the first recorded Olympic Games. Nevertheless, most believe the Games were at that time, according to the History Channel.

The Games were a five-day religious festival honoring Zeus, according to the IOC. Athletes competed every four years in running, jumping, boxing, throwing, wrestling, pankration () as well as chariot racing. Athletes and, during certain wrestling events, covered in oil.聽

The Games were held until 393 AD, when the Roman Christian Emperor Theodosius I banned them. He believed worshipping Zeus through the Games was a according to National Geographic.

The Olympics wouldn鈥檛 return until the late 19th century. Pierre de Coubertin, who co-founded the International Olympic Committee, was inspired to reinstitute the Games after seeing what German archaeologists uncovered during an excavation of ancient Olympia when he was a child. Coubertin, seeking to increase sports education in 91影视, presented his in 1892. It was approved in 1894.

A detailed view of the Olympic Flame during the flame lighting ceremony for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics at the Ancient Olympia archeological site, the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece on April 16, 2024, in Olympia, Greece.

When were the first Olympics?

The IOC hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896 in Athens. The location was chosen as a tribute to the Games' origins. According to the History Channel, 280 male athletes from 13 countries participated in 43 events, including track and field, swimming, gymnastics, cycling, wrestling, weightlifting, fencing, shooting and tennis. The 1896 Olympics also saw the world鈥檚 first marathon competition.

But world fairs largely outshone the early Olympic Games. and it wasn鈥檛 until the 1920s that the occurred, the History Channel says. In 1924, over 3,000 athletes 鈥 more than 100 of them women 鈥 competed in Paris.

The games have grown in size and the number of events has expanded in the last century. This year, an estimated will compete in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, the IOC reports.

How often are the Olympics?

The Summer and Winter Olympics occur to 鈥渞espect the ancient origins of the Olympic Games.鈥 A period of four years was called an 鈥淥lympiad,鈥 in ancient Greece.聽

Because the two alternate, we watch the Olympics every two years. For example, the 2022 Olympics were Winter Games and the 2024 Paris Olympics are Summer Games.聽The next Winter Olympics will be in Italy in 2026.

When are the next Olympics?:Start and end dates to know in 2024

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