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The Origins of the Olympic Games

Ancient Olympic Runners

“Ancient Olympic Runners” by History Maps is marked with CC PDM 1.0.

With the arrival of one of the most anticipated events of the summer, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, people from all over the world are anxiously watching the competitions unfold.

A wide variety of sports are being played, from well-known ones like swimming/diving, gymnastics, basketball and cycling, in addition to less familiar events like sailing, shooting, sport climbing, and table tennis. Although the Games were delayed from 2020 to this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are an impressive number of athletes participating. According to NBC Sports, “there are 206 National Olympic Committees with a projected 11,360 athletes at the Tokyo games.” Each athlete is hoping that their training pays off with a medal win in their respective sport.

As in years past, Villanova is well represented in the summer Olympic Games. The sacrifice and dedication of our fellow Wildcats have demonstrated to be able to compete on this worldwide stage is undeniable.

The Olympic Games have long been a staple of our culture, but did you ever wonder where it all began? What is known as the “modern” Olympics began in 1896 in Athens, Greece; however, that is not when this prestigious competition actually originated.

Fast Facts about the Ancient Olympic Games:

  • The first recorded date of the Olympics is 776 BC in Olympia in the district of Elis in Greece.
  • The Games were held in honor of the king of the gods, Zeus.
  • Greek males were permitted to compete; women could not attend or compete.
  • The original competition was a foot race, but the Games evolved over time, with more sporting events added each year.
  • Running, jumping, throwing, boxing, and chariot racing were common games.
  • Pankration (a brutal combination of boxing and wrestling) was also popular. “No biting and no gouging” were the only rules of this game.
  • Competitors were naked.
  • Original prize for winners was an olive wreath.
  • 40,000 spectators attended the Olympics at the height of their popularity.
  • Winning athletes were like modern-day celebrities, earning recognition and other perks.
  • The Games were banned by the Roman emperor Theodosius I in 394 AD.
  • The Olympic Games were resurrected in 1896 by Pierre de Coubertin as a way to bring nations together to celebrate sport and friendship.
  • The first Olympic Winter Games in 1924 in Chamonix (France).

Dig Deeper: 

Be sure to check out some of Falvey’s helpful online resources to learn more about the history of the ancient Olympics!

(The above facts were drawn from these resources.)

Global Olympics: Historical and Sociological Studies of the Modern Games (Kevin Young and Kevin B. Wamsley)

The Olympic Games Explained: A Student Guide to the Evolution of the Modern Olympic Games (Jim Parry, Vassil Girginov, and Craig Reedie)

The Palgrave Handbook of Olympic Studies (Helen Lenskyj and Stephen Wagg)

Historical Dictionary of the Olympic Movement (Bill Mallon and Jeroen Heijmans)

The Olympics,  A Very Peculiar History (David Arscott)

A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics (Neil Faulkner)

Olympia: The Story of the Ancient Olympic Games (Robin Waterfield)

The First Olympics (Betsy Carpenter)

The Modern Olympic Games and their Model in Antiquity (Louis Callebat)

Onward to the Olympics: Historical Perspectives on the Olympic Games (Stephen R. and Gerald P. Schaus)

When were the first Olympics? (Paul Christesen)

First Olympian (Cameron Balbirnie, Alexander Street Video)

The Real Olympics (PBS, Alexander Street Video)

Welcome to the Ancient Olympic Games (International Olympic Committee)

Let the Games Begin: The First Olympics (National Geographic)

 


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Regina Duffy is a Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 

 


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Photo Friday: Ron Delany Wins Olympic Gold in 1956

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Photo courtesy of University Archives.

Ron Delany, part of Villanova’s famed Irish Pipeline, sprints to gold in the 1500 meters event at the 1956 Summer Olympics setting a new Olympic record. He went on to compete in the 1960 Olympics, finishing sixth.

 


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Four Villanovans Chase Their Olympic Dreams

By Shawn Proctor

All eyes are on Tokyo as the 2020 Summer Games opening ceremonies commence tonight. Four Villanovans will be among the athletes competing for gold, adding to 108 years of Villanova glory at the Olympics.

Marcus O'Sullivan competes in 1982, two years before competing in the Olympics, his first of four..

Marcus O’Sullivan, part of the legendary Irish Pipeline, races in 1982, two years before competing in the Summer Olympics, his first of four appearances. O’Sullivan is now Head Coach of Villanova Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field.

In all, 66 Villanovans have competed representing 15 different countries, winning 10 gold and five silver medals in the Olympics, and the University has been represented in every Summer Olympics since 1948. For more than five decades, beginning that year, this running dominance was, in large part, powered by the famed Irish Pipeline, which saw an influx of Irish runners competing in U.S. collegiate track and field. This included, in all, 715 athletes who enrolled in programs in all 50 states, and made Villanova a destination for the fleetest of feet.

Siofra Cleirigh Buttner, the newest member of this pipeline, will represent Ireland in the 800-meters event. Australian Patrick Tiernan takes to the track for his second Olympics where he will run for gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters races, only the 22nd Villanovan to compete in multiple Olympics. “Every young athlete dreams about the chance to represent their country at the Olympics,” Tiernan told Villanova Magazine in 2016.

Sports writer Joe Boozell once quipped, “Water is wet, and Villanova is good at basketball.” This summer will add to Villanova’s Olympic memories on the hardwood, which most recently saw alumnus Kyle Lowry and Jay Wright win gold as player and coach, respectively, in the 2016 Olympics. Wright takes up the clipboard again as Assistant Coach of the USA Men’s Basketball Team, guiding a team brimming with veteran NBA talent.

Lastly, Summer (Cook) Rappaport will swim, bike, and run against the world’s best as she represents the United States in the triathlon, both in women’s individual and mixed relay.

Learn more…

 


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Shawn Proctor, MFA, is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Photo Friday: Sunrise, Sunrise

Sunrise outside of Falvey Memorial Library

 

“I hope you realize that every day is a fresh start for you. That every sunrise is a new chapter in your life waiting to be written.”
Juansen Dizon, Confessions of a Wallflower

 


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Everything But The Shark Week: Jellyfish, Immortal and Astounding

Everything but the shark week banner

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Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

 

Your feelings about jellyfish might be classified as “it’s complicated.”

If you have been stung by one, you might call jellyfish frightening and even painful. If you have watched them gliding through the water, in person or films like Finding Nemo, you might label them tranquil and meditative. If you truly know jellyfish, you’d most certainly call them what they are: amazing, astonishing, and (sometimes!) immortal.

Flop aside Shark Week lovers, grab your flippers while we “dive deeper,” and explore these cool jellyfish facts found in the pages of books in Falvey’s collection!


Did you know Jellyfish…

…have no heart, brain, bones, or eyes, and their bodies are mostly water?

…travel and migrate in groups called a smack?

…have bodies, called bells, that are shaped like open umbrellas?

…either swim by floating with the current or squeezing water through their bodies?

…can sometimes revert from the adult (medusa) stage to the polyp stage and back again, effectively becoming immortal?

… come in a variety of sizes, including the largest, the lion’s mane jellyfish, whose bell can be as large as eight feet wide and can possess tentacles up to 100 feet long?

Reading Recommendations for Jelly-fans…

The above facts were drawn from several books available in the Library’s collection:

Bonus podcasts with even more jelly-facts!

Want to read some great jelly-fiction and jelly-poetry?

Keep checking back all week on the blog, where we will be exploring many other incredible creatures of the sea!

Shawn Proctor Head shotShawn Proctor, MFA, is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library. He was stung by a jellyfish as a child and, naturally, is writing a horror novel about jellyfish now.

 


 


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Falvey Focuses on Scholarship: Tara Reddy and Danielle Markey

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BY SHAWN PROCTOR

Welcome to the final installment of a 7-part series featuring the 2021 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them in Falvey’s blog archives and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the Library’s bi-annual publication.

Falvey Memorial Library is honored to announce the 2021 Falvey Scholar award winners. We will showcase the research of our eight young alumni on the blog and in the fall issue of Mosaic.

Sponsored by the Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships, the Falvey Scholars program recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at Villanova University. Award winners are selected from a pool of candidates generated by applications submitted by a senior Villanova University student or a group of students working on a senior project together with the recommendation of the advisor to the senior thesis or capstone project completed for academic credit.

View the 2021 Falvey Scholars Awards virtual booklet.


Researchers Brief


Falvey Scholar: Tara Reddy

Hometown: Bridgewater, N.J.

Other Honors: Fitzpatrick College of Nursing Nominee for the Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence (ICE) Award; Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society

 

Falvey Scholar: Danielle Markey

Hometown: Larchmont, N.Y.

Other Honors: Rose Woytowich O’Driscoll Student Service Award, Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society

 

Project Title: “Interprofessional Collaboration Promotes Parkinson’s Medication Safety”

Faculty Mentor: Diane M. Ellis, MSN, RN, CCRN


 

Learn about Tara’s and Danielle’s research in his own words:

 

Tell me about your Falvey Scholar Award-winning research project.

Tara Reddy:

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders, and among patients with PD admitted to the hospital, only 33% return home. The hospitalization of patients with PD can be dangerous due to the unique and variable medication regimen that patients with PD require. Often their their medication is administered inappropriately, late, or omitted within the acute care setting, which can cause a complication such as aspiration leading to a respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, or death.

Our mock code study was conducted in five steps: participants read and signed an informed consent; a pre-test questionnaire was administered; students participated in the simulated unfolding case-study; students participated in emotional and psychological debriefing sessions and Debriefing for Meaningful Learning (DML) following the simulation; and participants completed a post-test questionnaire.

Danielle Markey:

Tara and I are a dynamic duo! We completed all of the same tasks and were able to pick up one another when one of us had trouble. We do a great job delegating tasks to each other and collaborating with to achieve success. She helped me collect data, analyze data, write literature reviews, hold discussions, create the poster for presentations, and run the skills lab.

How did Falvey Memorial Library support your research?

DM:

Falvey particularly enhanced our project in the paper portion. This study represents our first professional publication, so I knew it had to be perfect. Thankfully, we spent a whole class freshman year in the Library with an expert to show us how to use the databases like PubMed, so I felt comfortable navigating and citing these sources.

I also had a refresher course this year in my senior nursing seminar on evidence-based practice. These resources helped me gain confidence when it comes to finding reliable evidence and citing it. As a result, the paper was published in the Nursing Education Perspective journal and presented at the Villanova Research Symposium and the Collaborative Family Health Care Association Conference.

What impact did this project have on you?

DM:

I learned how to work in a team from my research experience, as well as how to speak up when working in a large group. I loved working with so many different disciplines, and I got to learn more about their scopes and how they influence the nurse’s work. This experience certainly pushed me academically. It influenced my academic goals in such a positive light because I am now aware of all of the learning that can be done outside of the classroom if you look around and try to get involved in something else.

TR:

I didn’t really know what what kind of nursing I wanted to go into after graduation. This study takes place in the intensive care unit, so two years of work I realized I could definitely see myself working in ICU…I actually have a job working in ICU after I graduate!

 

And what’s next for you?

TR:

I am working in the cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

DM:

I am currently applying to nursing positions in New York City.

 


Shawn Proctor Head shotShawn Proctor, MFA, is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Dig Deeper: Remembering Diana, Princess of Wales, on Her 60th Birthday

Photo of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Photo courtesy of Julian Parker/UK Press/Getty Images.


“I think the biggest disease the world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved. I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day, for a month, but I can give. I am very happy to do that, I want to do that.” –Princess Diana

Today, July 1, 2021, a statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, commissioned by the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, will be installed on what would have been her 60th birthday. One of many memorials crafted in tribute to Princess Diana, the sculpture, created by artist Ian Rank-Broadley, will be placed in the garden of the London palace. Prince William and Prince Harry hope “the permanent sculpture will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to ‘reflect on her life and her legacy.'”

In 1995, Princess Diana stated in a TV interview with Martin Bashir (BBC) that she wanted to be a queen of people’s hearts. Twenty-four years after her death, “The People’s Princess,” [an endearment first issued by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair] has left a legacy that continues to resonate with people today. One of the most influential figures of 20th century, Diana is remembered for ability to connect with all people, valuing “authenticity over protocol, and humanity over prestige.”

Diana, Princess of Wales, formerly Lady Diana Frances Spencer, was born on July 1, 1961, at Park House near Sandringham, Norfolk. She was the youngest daughter of Edward John Spencer, Viscount Althorp and Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp. She and her three siblings, sisters Sarah and Jane, and brother Charles, grew up at Park House on the Sandringham Estate, owned by The Royal Family. Diana’s parents separated in 1967; she briefly lived in London with her mother, until her father won custody after the marriage dissolved in 1969. Her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975, and moved the family from Park House to Althorp, the Spencer seat in Northamptonshire.

Initially home-schooled, Diana began her formal education at Silfield Private School in Gayton, Norfolk, before enrolling in preparatory school at Riddlesworth Hall in Diss, Norfolk. She then joined her sisters at West Heath Girls School, in Sevenoaks, Kent. She also attended finishing school at the Institut Alpin Videmanette in Rougemont, Switzerland, which she left after just a few months in 1978. Returning to London that same year, Diana lived with her mother and began a number of part-jobs including nannying for an American couple and working as a kindergarten assistant at the Young England school in Pimlico. When she turned 18, Diana’s mother bought her a flat where she lived with friends until she began her life as Princess of Wales.

Diana first met Prince Charles in 1977, when he began dating her sister Sarah. Though the families had known each other for many years, Diana crossed paths with Charles again at a polo match in 1980. They began their courtship soon after and officially announced their engagement on Feb. 24, 1981. They married a few months later at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on July 29. “The Royal Wedding was broadcast worldwide on television and was watched by nearly 750 million viewers.” The couple had two sons, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, born June 21, 1982, and Prince Henry (Harry) Charles Albert David, born Sept. 15, 1984.

After her wedding, Princess Diana quickly became involved in many official duties: “Although the Princess was renowned for her style and was closely associated with the fashion world, patronising and raising the profile of younger British designers, she was best known for her charitable work. The Princess was president or patron of over 100 charities and did much to publicise work on behalf of homeless and also disabled people, children and people with HIV/AIDS.” Throughout her turbulent marriage to Prince Charles, Diana devoted her time to raising her children and supporting causes close to her heart. Even after her separation from Prince Charles in 1992, and subsequent divorce in 1996, Diana remained devoted to her charities and philanthropic efforts.

Diana’s last official engagement was on July 21, when she visited the children’s accident and emergency unit at Northwick Park Hospital in London. Princess Diana passed away on August 31, 1997, from injuries she sustained during a car accident in the Place de l’Alma underpass in central Paris. The crash also resulted in the deaths of the driver, Henri Paul, and Diana’s companion Dodi Fayed. Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, survived the crash. “The Princess’s body was subsequently repatriated to the United Kingdom and her funeral was held on September 6, 1997 in Westminster Abbey. Diana is buried in sanctified ground on an island in the center of an ornamental lake at her family’s estate at Althorp.”

At Diana’s funeral, her brother Charles described the connection she shared with so many individuals:

“Diana explained to me once that it was her innermost feelings of suffering that made it possible for her to connect with her constituency…And here we come to another truth about her. For all the status, the glamour, the applause, Diana remained throughout a very insecure person at heart, almost childlike in her desire to do good for others so she could release herself from deep feelings of unworthiness…The world sensed this part of her character and cherished her for her vulnerability whilst admiring her for her honesty.”

For additional information on Diana, Princess of Wales, explore the resources below:


References:

50MINUTES.COM. (2018). Princess Diana: The tragic fate of the nation’s sweetheart. ProQuest Ebook Central. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com.

BBC. (2020, August 28). Princess Diana statue to be installed to mark her 60th birthday. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53947508.

Goodey, E. (2020, March 31). Diana, Princess of Wales. The Royal Family. https://www.royal.uk/diana-princess-wales.

Hallemann, C. (2018, June 6). Looking Back at Princess Diana’s Brother’s Controversial Eulogy. Town & Country. https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a10350548/princess-diana-brother-eulogy/.

Hare, B. (2020, August 31). How Diana became known as ‘the people’s princess’. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/31/world/princess-diana-death-the-windsors-series/index.html.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Service Announcement: Masks Now Optional in Falvey

 

In accordance with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and University policies, mask wearing in all campus spaces, including Falvey Memorial Library, is now optional. For individuals who are not fully vaccinated, wearing masks indoors is still strongly recommended.


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Falvey Scholar 2021: Nicholas Yoo

 

BY SHAWN PROCTOR

Welcome to part 6 of a 7-part series featuring the 2021 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Monday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the Library’s bi-annual publication.

Falvey Memorial Library is honored to announce the 2021 Falvey Scholar award winners. We will showcase the research of our eight young alumni on the blog and in the fall issue of Mosaic.

Sponsored by the Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships, the Falvey Scholars program recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at Villanova University. Award winners are selected from a pool of candidates generated by applications submitted by a senior Villanova University student or a group of students working on a senior project together with the recommendation of the advisor to the senior thesis or capstone project completed for academic credit.

View the 2021 Falvey Scholars Awards virtual booklet.


Researcher Brief

Falvey Scholar: Nicholas Yoo

Hometown: Orange, Conn.

Other Honors: Villanova First Year Match Program Grant; Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellows (VURF) Grant; Oak Ridge National Lab Visiting Faculty Program–Student Grant; Villanova Small Research Grant

Project Title: “The Atomic Interaction between Polymers and Two-Dimensional Materials”

Faculty Mentor: Bo Li, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering


Learn about Nicholas’ research in his own words:

 

Tell me about your Falvey Scholar Award-winning research project.

Nanomaterials are an exciting kind of new material that we’ve been researching, because this has so many applications for many fields. First, a literature search was performed in the field of polymers and 2-D nanomaterials to find a foundation and build our own novel ideas from there.

Building off past work, Dr. Li and I formulated an experimental plan to grow polymer structures on the surface of MoSe2. The MoSe2 samples were analyzed with high class equipment such as a Raman spectrometer and atomic force microscope before and after polymer growth to determine which characteristics of the material affected it.

We also cross-referenced our data with data found in literature to check for any irregularities in our samples that may have occurred during experimentation. The experimental procedure was also modified a few times to better control the polymer growth. This was done through a combination of trial and error and literature review.

 

How did Falvey Memorial Library support your research?

Falvey was crucial to being able to complete the project. Using online databases, I was able to access almost any article I wanted for free. I built the foundations of the entire project using the articles I was able to access through the Library. I designed my own experiment after learning which solvents promoted the most controllable growth, the temperature range for growth, etc.

I continued to use the Library’s resources throughout the project to compare our results to past work and understand more of the work that already has been done in the field. The Library helped me understand the existing work done in the field of polymers and nanomaterials and pursue a novel direction to further the field.

 

What impact did this project have on you? And what’s next for you?

I learned how to write papers and create poster presentations as well as the day-to-day work of a researcher. I want to go to graduate school to pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering and potentially conduct more research in the field of nanomaterials.

 


Shawn Proctor Head shotShawn Proctor, MFA, is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Resource Highlights for South Asian Research tools

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By Merrill Stein

The Times of India (1838–2010) (ProQuest Historical Newspapers), reported by some, as the world’s most widely circulated English daily newspaper, was founded in 1838 to serve British residents of West India. This subscription provides access to all available issues of The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce (1838–1859), The Bombay Times and Standard (1860–1861), and The Times of India (1861–2010).

Researchers can use the historical newspaper in studying topics, such as colonialism and post-colonialism, nationalism, biography, British and world history, class and gender issues, business, international relations, comparative religion, international economics, terrorism, cultural studies, and communication. Additionally, coverage of sports, the growing Indian film industry, and other stories of everyday life are available.

The resource is complimented by Falvey Library’s access to India, Raj and Empire (Adam Matthew Digital) manuscript collection (1615-1947) and the current The Times of India news subscription.

For a research example from the Times of India (1838–2010) (ProQuest Historical Newspapers), try examining the 1857 Sepoy Mutinies or “disaffection,” that lead to the last the Mughal Emperor being deposed and direct governance of India by the British. View events as they occurred and in retrospect at 100 and 150 years later.

The Times of India (1838–2010) (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)  and the India, Raj and Empire (Adam Matthew Digital) are available on Falvey Library’s Databases A-Z list.  All versions of the Times of India can also be found by searching Falvey Library’s Journal and Article Finder.

 


""Merrill Stein is Political Science Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 


 


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Last Modified: June 22, 2021