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Mt. Olympus - Home of the Gods


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What do the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and the Olympic Games of Greece have in common? [Read feature story by Dan Youra.] Six-part story compares the original Olympic games of ancient Greece with the "Olympic" legacy of the Olympic Peninsula.

Each has its tallest mountain named Mount Olympus, which is known as the "home of the gods." Each has a beautiful city named Olympia, which hosts Olympic events. Each is committed to the promotion of the Olympic games and recreational sports. Each is a tourist destination which attracts visitors to festivals and outdoor recreation.

Nearly 3000 years ago the original Olympic games began in Greece. They were a civic and religious spectacle dedicated to Zeus, whose temple at Mt. Olympus was a major tourist attraction, one of The Seven Wonders of the World.

The festival was held at holy Olympia, in an idyllic valley under the shadow of Mt. Olympus. As many as 40,000 pilgrims came from all corners of the Mediterranean. Foot race finalists lined up to compete for the title of "fastest man in the world". Running, leaping, discus and javelin throwing were the featured events of the original Olympics. The multitude slept on the ground, worshipped, feasted, drank wine and cheered.

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Watch short 30 sec. video on ascent of Mt. Olympus to The Home of the Gods

Modern day pilgrims to the Olympic Peninsula combine the sense of adventure and travel reminiscent of the early travelers who journeyed to see The Seven Wonders of the World and who trekked every four years to the Olympic festivals of Greece.

Visitors to the peninsula travel arrive by ferry or Highway 101 to drive around Olympic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to visit natural landmarks designated as The Seven Wonders of the Olympic Peninsula. The seven are Mount Olympus, Hood Canal, Protection Island, Dungeness Spit, Tatoosh Island, Olympic Rain Forests and Grays Harbor.

The Olympic Peninsula has a legacy of names tied to the ancient culture of Greece. Mt. Olympus, the highest peak of the Olympic mountain range did not receive its name from a "name that mountain" contest. The name is the result of the inspiration of Captain John Meares, who in 1788 named it with the following exclamation. "If that not be the home where dwell the gods, it is certainly beautiful enough to be, and I therefore will call it Mt. Olympus."

Twenty-five mountain peaks on Mount Olympus are named for Greek, Roman and Norse gods. The local native Americans believed that the mountain was the home of their most important god, Thunderbird.

Visitors to the Olympic Peninsula participate in recreational activities similar to the Olympic games, such as running, hiking, rowing and swimming. Events are promoted that encourage visitor participation.

The "wonder" of the Olympics is the sense of awe travelers experience as they gaze at Mount Olympus from Hurricane ridge. It is a sense of exhilaration felt as visitors breath in the fresh air of Dungeness Spit extending miles out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Each of the seven Olympic wonders offers visitors its own reward -- an enjoyable visit and unforgettable memories.

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Official Olympic Peninsula Guide Excellent information to regional Information.
Olympic National Park Guide Information directly from National Park.
Olympic Peninsula Map Best Map.
OlyPortal.com access to links.

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DISCLAIMER: This web site is not associated with the United States Olympic Committee nor International Olympic Committee. Use of the word "Olympic" on this site is permitted under US Code Title 36 : Section 220506, allowing any person who used the word "Olympic" prior to September 21, 1950 to continuing such lawful use for the same goods and services, recognizing its use by the Olympic Peninsula Resort and Hotel Association starting in 1932 and continuing to the present.

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