Of all the athletic contests ancient Greece, none rivaled the Olympics. The Games, which honored Zeus, the king of all gods, served many purposes: religious, political, and athletic. The ancient Greeks even measured time in Olympiads, the four-year intervals between Games.
Pindar's Olympian Odes, written around 470 B.C., tell us the significance of these events: "Water is best, and gold, like a blazing fire in the night, stands out supreme of all lordly wealth. But if, my heart, you wish to sing of contests ... let us not proclaim any contest greater than Olympia."
No one knows exactly why the Games began, but the Greeks liked to turn almost everything into an agon, or contes