The first Olympic Games
by Instant Noodle
T is formally announced that an extremely discreditable and insolvent association, which, because it inhabits the soil on which the ancient Greeks dwelt, has the assurance to call itself Greece, is about to carry the parody of classical institutions to an extreme point.
Modern Greece is going to celebrate the Olympic Games!
The date is fixed late in the year, so as to catch travellers, and the Athenian lodging-house keepers, who are a good deal worse than even tnose of English watering-places, are already turning cupboards into bedrooms and getting ready cards with
engrossed neatly, to invite English and French Cockneys.
The idea is happy, and the spectacle will be edifying and elevating.
In the old Olympian Games, which, according to certain authorities, were instituted by Jupiter in honour of his overthrow of the Titans, there were a few features which of course we all remember, and therefore need not refer to LEMPRIERE about. One seems to see a few reasons why some very important modifications must be introduced into the proposed celebration.
” The Presidents were above suspicion of being bribed.”
” No unfair dealings were allowed.”
” No criminals, or such as were connected with guilty persons, could present themselves.”
” The only reward was a piece of olive, something with no money value.”
” The only object of the Games was to stimulate courage and virtue.”
How can so ridiculous a notion be entertained as that of having anything of this sort in Modern Greece. Pooh ! the report must be a French canard.
And yet it is not; formal and official notices are out, and Punch makes no doubt that railway and steamboat excursions, “to the Olympic Games and back, five clear days in Greece,” will soon be organised.
Well, the Athenian hotel-keepers are to be congratulated on their ingenuity, much as we congratulate the keeper of a road-side publichouse in England, who lias the sense to get a fight, or a race, fixed for the neighbourhood of his locality. Let us hope that another Olympic Game, in which the Gallic Jupiter and the Austrian Titan contend, may not spoil so well-designed a scheme upon travellers’ pockets.
The first Olympic Games was held in an Athens city square in 1859, mostly including participants from Greece and the Ottoman empire. Though it is known that policemen and beggars both sneakily left their respective posts to compete.
(April 30th, 1859)