first olympics
The very first modern Olympic Games were held in Greece in 1896. Image Credit: AFP/Getty Images

For just over two weeks, starting tomorrow, nations around the world will send their best athletes to Tokyo, Japan, to showcase their incredible discipline, skill, and strength in the Summer Olympics.

Click start to play today’s puzzle, which dives into the history of the tournament. Keep returning for our Olympics-themed Crosswords every week!

With athletes in 33 different sports competing for 339 gold medals overall, the Games in Tokyo will have the most disciplines of any Olympics ever. But the competitive event is very different today, from what it used to be in the 8th century, when it was held in Greece.

Every four years, for 12 centuries, the Olympic Games were played as a religious tournament to honour the Greek deity Zeus. But in 392 AD, Roman emperor Theodosius abolished the Olympics in an attempt to put a stop to paganism, amidst the widespread adoption of Christianity.

The Olympics went on a hiatus – a very long one. In fact, it took 1,503 years before a French historian named Pierre de Coubertin pitched the idea of bringing back the Olympics without its religious connotations. His political connections and persistence paid off. He found unanimous support from nine countries, and so formed the International Olympics Committee and brought to life the first modern Olympics in 1896!

Although he initially planned to hold the event in France, representatives from participating countries convinced him that it would only be appropriate to launch the Games from its birth country – Greece – and then move the event to other great cities of the world every four years.

It's a format that is being followed even today. Well, until the COVID-19 pandemic stepped in and caused a year’s delay, that is.

How well do you know the history of the Olympics? Play today’s Crossword and let us know if you enjoyed it at