One year from today - on February 7th, 2014 - the 22nd Olympic Winter Games begin in Sochi, Russia. As the countdown begins, IDEAS takes you back in time to Ancient Greece to see what the very first Olympic Games - known then as the Olympic struggles - were really like. This IDEAS classic, from 1988, was by historian and classicist Brent Shaw.
The first Olympic Games were held in Olympia, a small town in Southwestern Greece, more than twenty-five hundred years ago.
The Games took place every four years, for more than a thousand years until 393 AD - when the Roman Emperor Theodosius brought them to an end.
For the next fifteen hundred years there were no Olympic Games - until a French aristocrat revived them. For centuries, very little was known about them. The site at Olympia had long been abandoned and forgotten.
Then in 1875, a team of archeologists from Germany, started excavating and the ancient site of Olympia - and the Ancient Games - came back to life.
This Ideas episode was first broadcast on January 14th, 1988. It was presented by Brent Shaw
He was a Professor of History then, at the University of Lethbridge. Today, he's the Andrew Fleming West Professor in Classics, at Princeton University.