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by Archaeology Newsroom

Pierre de Coumbertin or the revival of the Olympic Games

In the name of Christianity, the Byzantine emperors ordered the destruction of ancient temples and sanctuaries and banned all activities that might promote the ancient spirit and culture. From the 18th to the early 19th century, however, Europeans seek to return to the ancient origins and archetypes of their civilization. Thus, in 1874, the German excavations under E. Curtius begin in Olympia, while in 1883 Pierre de Coumbertin, a young French ideologist, becomes conscious of the importance of athletics in the upbringing of youths. Since then, he commits himself to revive the Olympic Games. The first International Olympiad takes place in Athens in 1896 thanks to the persistent efforts of de Coumbertin. However, the approach to the Olympic Games and appreciation of them couldn’t be more different nowadays; in antiquity the glory of the winner in an Olympiad accompanied him for the rest of his days, today it lasts only as long as he holds a record.