In Ancient Greece athletic competitions were held during religious festivals in every Greek city. However the Olympic Games began in Olympia in 776 BC in honour of Zeus, the chief god and people came from all over Greece and the Greek colonies to take part in them. Wars stopped to allow everyone to take part.
Athletes competed in boxing, wrestling, running, horse racing, chariot racing and the pentathlon (five athletic events). Winners were not given medals. Instead they were given a crown of leaves.
Women were not allowed to take part in the games. However they had their own games called the Herean Games www.localhistories.org/sport