According to legend, the ancient Olympic Games were founded by Heracles (the Roman Hercules), a son of Zeus, the mythical king of the gods and ruler of Mount Olympus.
Yet the first Olympic Games for which we still have written records were held in 776 BC. At this Olympic Games, a naked runner, Coroebus won the sole event at the Olympics, a run of approximately 210 yards. This made Coroebus the very first Olympic champion in known history.
The ancient Olympic Games grew and continued to be played every four years for nearly 1200 years. Then in 393 the Roman emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, abolished the Games because of their pagan influences. Approximately 1500 years later, a young Frenchmen named Pierre de Coubertin began their revival. At a meeting of the Union des Sports Athlétiques in Paris on November 25, 1892, Coubertin stated,
“Let us export our oarsmen, our runners, our fencers into other lands. That is the true Free Trade of the future; and the day it is introduced into Europe the cause of Peace will have received a new and strong ally. It inspires me to touch upon another step I now propose and in it I shall ask that the help you have given me hitherto you will extend again, so that together we may attempt to realise [sic], upon a basis suitable to the conditions of our modern life, the splendid and beneficent task of reviving the Olympic Games.”
And so a much less pagan version of the games, the Modern Olympics started.”