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Long ago ancient Greeks often waged wars. Small states suffered and lost much even if they did not take any side and stayed out of wars. The ruler of such a small state, Ellis, wanted to live in peace with all neighbours. He was a good diplomat because his negotiations were successful and Ellis was recognized a neutral state. To celebrate this achievement, he organized athletic games.
Usually the Olympic Games began before the middle of the summer. Best athletes arrived from many Greek states to Olympia to compete in running, long jumps, throwing of discus and javelin and wrestling. In the course of time fist, fighting (boxing) and chariot races were also included in the Games. All athletes took an oath that they had been preparing well for the Games and promised to compete honestly and keep the rules of the sacred Olympics. The athletes took part in all kinds of competitions. Winners were called "olympionics", they were awarded olive wreaths and cups of olive oil. This tradition has survived. In our time, sportsmen often get cups and wreaths for winning the first place in sports competitions.
The revival of the Olympic Games began long time afterwards, in 1892, when a young French teacher Pierre de Coubertin made a public speech before the Union of French sports clubs in Paris. At that time, many people in many countries practised various kinds of sports and games. They wanted to make friends and compete with sportsmen from other lands; Pierre de Coubertin understood the importance of sports, which unified peoples of the world and served the cause of peace like in ancient time.
On the 23rd of June 1894 the International Congress of amateur sportsmen made an important decision: to revive the Olympic Games and to establish the International Olympic Committee which would be responsible for the administration of the modern Olympic Games. The first Committee consisted of 12 members. Now 82 members of the International Olympic Committee control the affairs of all member countries, which joined the Olympic movement.
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