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Romania and Zappa’s Games by Anita Sterea

In Bucharest, and not only, the information’s about the revival of the Olympic Games were well know. Zappa took care of this, so with every occasion when he was invited to speak in public he mentions his desire. In the sometime the political class was near him and tries to help him as they could.

But for the Romanians the games did not come from nowhere. A lot of classical book, which spoke about the games during the antiquity were translated in Romanian as well and in the sometime a lot of students that study abroad especially in Paris, Vienna or Berlin come with new information about what is happening in those country and in what direction the research goes. Article form different newspapers where send it home by letters usually, so the information exist in Walachia.

In the sometime the sports activities ware practice in this area, but usually ware practice by the rich people. They started for the very young age different sports as fencing or horse race. For the normal people sport activities ware including in everyday life, running, walking or throwing were found in almost every work that they did. In the sometime in the traditional fold, were other sport activities as dance, gymnastics or different team or individual games.

When Zappa started to make all the necessary steps to bring back to life the Olympic Games in Bucharest, this initiative was well known. So when the first editions were started was expected that Romanians or Greeks that live in Romania will take part at this event. The information that we have till today, said that only two Romanians – Constatin Cristu and Dimitrie Atanasiu, were at this events. First was a participant, in a speed race and the second one at the throwing event. We don’t have any proof that they were from Romanian; the only evidence can be their name (name specific from our country). In the sometime in the evidence that still exist in Brosteni, one of Zappa’s close workers was Dimitrie Atanasiu. So, maybe, Zappa select from his workers the best athletes and take with him to this competition. He did something like that one year before, when he organized a sport event in Cismigiu and some of the participants were workers that were noted during the festival that Zappa usually made during the summer after the harvest collection.

For the other editions we did not found any other participant to this game. Maybe because Zappa died so the connection was not so strong anymore. In the sometime, in Romania different sport association started so at this moment, they want to have a better institutional organization and after that to take part in different major events. Another reason can be the problem that Konstantinos Zappa had with the Romanian authorities regarding Zappa will. Because they had different perspective Zappa’s cousin did not encouraged and help anymore the Romanian athletes.

Regarding the press, during that period of time, mostly all the articles and newspapers that wrote about Zappa and the games were in Bucharest as well for the Greek community. The Romanian newspapers did not use this subject to often for any article. Till today the Zappa games remains a subject not to interest for the Romanian writers. In the interwar period when Romanian become part of the Olympic family and started to take part at different editions of the games, the popularity of these games increased but only little. So in 1936, before the Berlin Games will started in one Romanian newspaper appeared an article with the tile” The modern games were founded by one Romanian”. The article was singed it by Z. Arsenovici. Today, usually before the new edition of the games will start some journalist maybe will remains about Zappa and his work in the revival of the Olympic Games.

About Anita Sterea

Anita Sterea is PhD holder in Olympic History at the University of Bucharest, Romania

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