The modern Olympics owe a lot to the Ancient Greek Games. Many of the sporting events that we have grown accustomed to watching on TV or cheering on in our Olympic stadia (e.g. boxing, javelin, discus, long jump, foot races) are directly inspired by the competitions that were being held in Olympia more than two thousand years ago.
Perhaps more importantly, many of the underlying ideals of the Ancient Games are still at the heart of our modern Olympics. For example, the Olympic values are respect, excellence and friendship, while the Paralympic values are determination, equality, inspiration and courage. These are principles that we aspire to as a modern society, but their origins lie further back in time – they are the legacy of the Ancient Greek world.
Today, as in Ancient Olympia, cases of cheating, armed conflicts and allegations of corruption do occasionally mar the sporting events, but the modern Games still strive for the athletic ideals that are encapsulated within the Olympic spirit. These athletic ideals are constructed around Classical notions such as kalokagathia, arete, isonomia and kleos. We may have stopped hitting our athletes with a rhabdos when they misbehave, but by continuing to embrace the Olympic values of the Classical world, we strengthen the connections between the modern Games and their ancient origins in the Peloponnesian peninsula.