|At the sacred site of Olympia, in Mythological times, took place the most famous chariot race, the outcome of which became the starting point of the Olympic Games. That was the famous chariot race of Enomaos and Pelops. The latter won the race and after that he was worshipped as a hero at Sacret Alte.|
The Olympic Games were officially organized in 776B.C. at Olympia, a year after which the names of the winners were recorded and which is thus considered as marking their beginning. The Games took place every four year. Initially the "stadium" race was carried out but later on more events were added with the result that 23 events were carried out. The Games were the most respected in all the ancient world and they developed into a site where character and spiritual refinement developed into a site where character and spiritual refinement were shown. The culmination of this spirit was the meaning of truce, i.e. of the cessation of hostilities for the unhindered carrying out of the Games, in an atmosphere far from racial and political disputes. When however this deeper meaning of the Olympics faded, the Games declined and they were abolished in 394 A.D. by Theodosius the Great.
One and a half thousand years later a visionary of the great ideals, baron Pierre de Coubertin came to revive the Olympia miracle. The first Olympic Games of the modern times took place in 1896 in Greece. The world rejoiced because it believed that with this revival a new class of altruism and mutual understanding would reign. Everything else outside this is regarded a betrayal of the spirit of Olympia and as undermining an institution which for twelve centuries though the Athletic exercise of the body and competition created the type of the good and kind citizen. The spirit of Olympia can become the model of moral kindness and purity, so to enable the Olympic Games to serve the idea of peace.
Cyprus participates for the fourth time in a row in the Olympic Games with athletes in track events, swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, judo, shooting, wrestling and sailing. Since 1964 Cyprus honours the Summer Olympics by the issue of commemorative stamps and this year is issuing the usual commemorative stamps for swimming, long jump, running and discus throwing are depicted.
Text: George J. Hadjigeorgiou, Nicosia.
Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.