Hosting The Olympics: Cons Of The Olympics Coming To Your City

Glory of holding flaming torch. (Getty Images)

The Olympic Games began over 2,700 years ago in Olympia, Greece, where locals met every four years to play a number of athletic games in honor of the ruler of all Greek gods, Zeus. In its original form, the Games were more of a religious festival. The Greeks highly revered athleticism, so participation in exercise and sports was an expected part of being a good citizen and worshiper.

Unlike today, these early competitors were ordinary citizens; the first-ever champion on record was a cook by the name of Coroebus of Elis. The most popular games were chariot racing, foot racing, javelin throwing, and of course, it just wouldn't be Ancient Greece without naked olive oil wrestling. While the festival grew in popularity over the next 1,000 years, the last official Olympic Games were held in 383 A.D. before their return at the end of the 19th century.

At the urging of a French historian named Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the games were brought back to Athens with the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Hardly the global affair that we know today, only 13 countries from Europe and North America participated in the '96 Games. As with the ancient Games, only men were invited to participate. It was a smash success, however, and Paris quickly grabbed the opportunity to host the next Summer Olympics in 1900. Hosting the Olympic Games soon became both an international honor and a moneymaker for the cities that won the right from the newly formed International Olympic Committee.