|At the holy site of Olympia, in mythical times, the most historic chariot race - that between Oenomaus and Pelops - took place, the outcome of which marked the beginning of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games were held at Olympia for the first time in 776 BC. They were held every four years. At first the only event was running - the "stadium" - though others were gradually added. The Games were the most reputed in the whole ancient world and grew into an event for the display of ethos and culture. |
The culminating point of this ethos was the concept of truce, that is, of suspending hostilities for the unimpeded carrying out of the games in an atmosphere free from racial and political controversies. As time went by however, the Games declined and were finally abolished by the Emperor Theodosius the Great in 394 AD.
One thousand and five hundred years had to go by before a visionary with great ideals, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, came along to revive the marvel of Olympia. The first Olympic Games of modern times were held in Greece, the country that gave birth to them in 1896.
This year, one hundred years since their revival, the Olympic Games are being held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, though Athens was a candidate city. Cyprus is taking part in the Games for the fifth time running with athletes in various events. Since 1964, Cyprus has observed the summer Olympiads by issuing commemorative stamps. This year, it is issuing the customary commemorative series depicting the high jump, javelin, wrestling and swimming.
Text: George I. Hadjigeorgiou, Nicosia.
Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.