The Ancient Olympic Games Virtual MuseumThe Olympic idea was born in ancient Greece nearly 3,000 years ago. Sporting contests took place during the great festivals that the Greeks held in honour of their gods. The most important of these contests was the Olympic Games, dedicated to Zeus, the Father of the Gods. Every four years, free men from all over the Greek world gathered at the Games to demonstrate their sporting spirit in the sacred their sporting spirit in the sacred surroundings of Olympia, situated in the state of Elis.The first recorded Olympic Games took place in 776 BC. There was just one event, a race over a distance called a stade. A stade was about 180 metres, nearly the length of the stadium at Olympia. The race was won by a young cook, Coroebus, from Elis.