It was said that Zeus once fought his father Kronos for control of the world atop a mountain in southwestern Greece. After Zeus defeated his father an immense statue and temple were built in the valley below in order to honor and worship him. The valley was named Olympia and soon religious festivals developed to worship Zeus. These religious festivals are believed to have developed into the games of the Olympic program in Ancient Greece (Herrmann 51).
The myth tells us that Dactyl Herakles, the thumb, originated the Olympic games by instigating a race between him and his four finger brothers. Aeonius (forefinger), Epimedes (middle finger), Jasius (ring finger), and Idas (little finger) ran in a race at Olympia in order to entertain Zeus. The victor was given an olive tree wreath which later became a symbol for peace. Herakles established the tradition of holding the games every fifth year because he and his brothers were five in number.
Pindar claims that the festival at Olympia involved Pelops. After becoming a lover of Poseidon, Pelops was provided with a chariot. Some say that the chariot was drawn by winged horses. With this chariot he competed against King Oinomaos for his daughter, Hippodameia's hand in marriage. The King would slay any suitor that lost to him in a race so Hippodameia bribed her father's charioteer to tamper with the chariot. He replaced the lynch-pins on the chariot with ones made of wax. When Oinomaos raised his spear to slay Pelops as they were racing, the wheels of his chariot fell off and he was dragged to his death. This was considered the first Olympic chariot race, despite the fact that Pelops won only by means of sabotage and trickery (Herrmann 48).