The Dark & Twisted History of the Olympic Games

Even though I’m not exactly a sports enthusiast, there’s one thing I certainly am — a history buff! Especially if we’re talking about the type of history that isn’t taught in school. And you know what we never really learned about in school? The dark and twisted history of the Olympic games. Even though this is currently the most celebrated sporting event in the world, it also has a history that’s shrouded in myth, controversy, and scandal. So, let’s unravel the darkest, deepest secrets of the Olympic Games.

Blood, Sweat, and Sacrifice

Our journey begins over 2,700 years ago in the hallowed city of Olympia, Greece. As you can probably already tell by the name — this is the place where the ancient Olympics were born. Far from the glitzy, sanitized spectacle of the modern games, the ancient Olympics were a brutal test of strength and endurance. Athletes (which weren’t the athletes we have today, but more so professional fighters) had to competed in events ranging from chariot races to brutal combat sports.

However, what’s truly fascinating about the ancient Olympics is that they were also deeply intertwined with religious and political significance. Competitors would swear sacred oaths to the gods before competing, and victories were often celebrated with lavish feasts and sacrifices. And while the games provided a temporary respite from the endless wars and conflicts of the ancient world, they were not immune to controversy. There were numerous accusations of bribery, cheating, and even violence. However, that wasn’t as big of a deal as it would be today.

From Athens to Berlin

After centuries of obscurity, the Olympic Games were reborn in the modern era. And that was in large part due to the efforts of French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin. Inspired by the spirit of ancient Greece, Coubertin envisioned a global sporting event that would promote peace, unity, and the pursuit of excellence. In 1896, his vision became a reality with the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens, Greece. The games were attended by 290 athletes (all of them men) from 12 countries. Needless to say, this would become a spectacle that captivated the world for generations to come.

However, it wouldn’t take too long until the games became entangled with politics, power, and money. Host countries would use the games as a chance to showcase their power and wealth. A prime example of that are the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, while Germany was under Nazi rule. Later, it would become clear that Hitler was using the games as a showcase for his twisted vision of Aryan supremacy.

dark-twisted-history-of-olympic-games-olympic-history

Scandals and Controversies

As the Olympic Games evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry, they became ripe for exploitation and corruption. From doping scandals to allegations of vote-buying and bribery, the modern Olympics have been plagued by controversies that have cast a shadow over their once-sterling reputation. But perhaps the most egregious example of corruption in Olympic history came to light in 2016. Back then, it was revealed that officials from the International Olympic Committee had been involved in a massive bribery scheme. The goal was to secure the hosting rights for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Once again, the Olympic Games have proven that the initial idea of promoting “peace, unity, and the pursuit of excellence” never really came to fruition.

Kanita is a wanderlust-fueled traveler with an inclination for unraveling the mysteries of history, the paranormal, and the bizarre world of medicine. As a true crime buff, Kanita's nights are often spent delving into the depths of chilling mysteries. Yet, it's not just the paranormal that captivates her—her background in medicine fuels a fascination with the weird and wonderful world of medical oddities, from twisted historical practices to the myths and legends that shroud the field. From exploring haunted locales to uncovering the strange and morbid tales of medical history, Kanita is your guide to the unconventional, the unexplained, and the downright eerie.

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