According to historical records, the first Olympic Games took place in 776 BC at the Sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, Greece. These ancient competitions reached their zenith in the Fifth Century BC, declining only as the Romans gained power and ordered the destruction of pagan cults, practices and Greek temples. The Games were revived in 1896 in Athens, and since then, the modern Olympic Games have grown from strength to strength to become the pinnacle of modern sporting achievement. The next Games will be held in Tokyo in 2020.
The Olympic Games were closely linked to the religious festivals of the cult of Zeus, but also had a secular significance in demonstrating the outstanding physical qualities of Greek citizens, and spreading Hellenic culture across the Mediterranean. The modern Olympic Games are held in both summer and winter versions, in which thousands of athletes participate from all over the world. Held alongside the Games are the Paralympic Games, which have grown from a small gathering of British WWII veterans in 1948 to become an event on a par in prestige and spectacle with the Olympics themselves.
Join us to discuss the history and the future of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the lead up to Tokyo 2020. We are delighted to invite Japanese Olympian ice skater Fumie Suguri, and British Paralympic long-distance runner Noel Thatcher to share their experiences with us. Alongside them Dr Vassil Girginov will discuss how both the Games have developed, and their role in modern global society.
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