|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's Games, the last of the millennium, are taking place in far away Australia and Cyprus participates for the sixth time with athletes in various sports. Since 1964 Cyprus honours the Summer Olympics with the issue of commemorative stamps. In this year's series depicted are archery, instrumental gymnastics, diving and trampoline.
Text: George I. Hadjigeorgiou, Nicosia.
Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.