The ancient Olympic Games were primarily a part of a religious festival in honor of Zeus, the father of the Greek gods and goddesses. The festival and the games were held in Olympia, a rural sanctuary site in the western Peloponnesos.
The Greeks that came to the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia shared the same religious beliefs and spoke the same language. The athletes were all male citizens of the city-states from every corner of the Greek world, coming from as far away as Iberia (Spain) in the west and the Black Sea (Turkey) in the east.
The sanctuary was named in antiquity after Mt. Olympos, the highest mountain in mainland Greece. In Greek mythology, Mt. Olympos was the home of the greatest of the Greek gods and goddesses.