From Ancient Greece

Nestled in a valley bordered by the Alpheus and Kladeus rivers, the ancient sanctuary of Olympia hosted the earliest, and most prestigious, Greek athletic-religious festival. Starting in 776 B.C. as a simple foot race dedicated to Zeus, the quadrennial Olympic games expanded into a five-day festival—during which 100 bulls were sacrificed to Zeus, and athletic events were contested—that attracted tens of thousands of people to Olympia from all over the Greek-speaking world.