The Olympics As Religious Ritual, Then And Now

“At the end of the fourth Christian century, an east-Roman emperor who followed the new faith abolished the pan-Hellenic contest as part of his general drive to stamp out paganism. … Pierre de Coubertin, the blue-blooded Frenchman who revived the classical games, did not hide the fact that he was competing with monotheism, and trying to reverse what he saw as a great historical wrong.” What’s more, “both the modern contests and their ancient Greek predecessors share many of the features of a giant sacramental feast.”