The original olympic games actually started thousands of years ago in a small Greek town called Olympia. They were held as part of a religious festival to honor the Greek god Zeus. The original event included singing, poetry, and dancing competitions in addition to athletics.
In 391 AD, Theodosius, the Christian Roman emperor banned all pagan practices, which included the olympic games. But it was hard to keep the competitive spirit down for too long and 1,500 years later in 1896 the modern olympics started up again in Athens.
Now every four years we celebrate the summer and winter olympics, which unites nations by the billions all over the world.
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Video via TED-Ed