PE Timeline


Ancient Olympic Games

776 BC - 394 AD
  1. The Ancient Olympic Games began primarily as a part of a religious festival in honor of Zeus.
  2. The games later became a way to unify the Greek city states.
  3. The Olympics set a precedent for sports, rather than war, to be an important determining factor in a society's strength.
  4. The first Olympic events were foot races and later expanded to included wrestling and the pentathlon.
  5. The ancient Greeks believed in physical and intellectual intelligence gained through a strong mind and body.
  6. In 394 AD, Emperor Theodosius of Rome abolished the games as attempted reform against pagan practices.

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Johann Friedrich Simon

1774 - 1775
  1. Credited with being the first modern teacher of physical education.
  2. He taught gymnastics at a school in Dessau, Germany
  3. The school specialized in teaching fencing, horseback riding, dancing and ball related games.

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Friederich Jahn

1810 - 1849
  1. Friederich Jahn (Germany) is considered the father of gymnastics.
  2. He developed a curriculum of simple games and hiking.
  3. He invented the parallel bars, the rings, the balance beam, the horse, and the horizontal bars still used in modern gymnastics competitions.
  4. He believed that physical education was the cornerstone of national health and helped strengthen character and national identity.

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Catherine Beecher

1823 - 1832
  1. Catherine Beecher founds Hartford Female Seminary for Girls.
  2. She was a strong advocate of daily Physical Education and developed a program of calisthenics performed to music. (similar to modern aerobics)
  3. Quote: "When physical education takes the proper place in our schools, young girls will be trained in the class-rooms to move head, hands and arms gracefully; to sit, to stand, and to walk properly, and to pursue calisthenic exercises for physical development as a regular school duty as much as their studies." (Catherine Beecher, Educational reminiscences and suggestions, pp.85-86.)

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Round Hill School, Northhampton, MA

1823 - 1834
  1. First US boys school to have a gymnasium and a specific curriculum on physical education.
  2. The gym was an outdoor facility.
  3. Charles Beck becomes the first PE teacher at this school.
  4. Beck helps to establish the first college gymnasium at Harvard University in 1826.

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YMCA Founded

1844 - 2014
  1. George Williams launched the first Young Men's Christian Association chapter in 1844 in London on a volunteer basis.
  2. Their original focus was on general physical activities for men only.
  3. The first US YMCA began in Boston in 1851.
  4. Many college campuses began opening up YMCA chapters and in the beginning, most were run strictly by volunteers.
  5. In the 1860's the YMCA began offering safe, affordable hotel-like housing whose facilities included gymnasiums and swimming pools which proliferated access to physical exercise facilities.

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California Mandates Physical Education

1866 - 1867
  1. California wаѕ thе first tο mandate physical education.
  2. Many states followed thіѕ mandate within thе next 30 years.
  3. Thе importance οf training thе body аѕ well аѕ thе mind became prevalent іn thе United States educational system.

Modern Olympic Games

1896 - 2014
  1. The modern Olympic Games began in Athens, Greece in 1859.
  2. The games were revived after a 1,503 year gap in order to revive the ancient virtue of friendly championship on a national level.
  3. Athletes from 14 countries participated in the first modern Olympics.
  4. The games of today are an inspiration for athletes everywhere.

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NAIA is formed

1937 - 2014
  1. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is formed in Kansas City, Mo. as a governing body of small intercollegiate athletics programs.
  2. The NAIA has administers programs to ensure the overall college athletic and educational experience.
  3. In 1937, Dr. James Naismith (the inventor of basketball) organized the first National College Basketball Tournament in Kansas City, MO. which later expands to 32 teams.
  4. Today, more than 60,000 student-athletes have the opportunity to play college sports at numerous NAIA member institutions.
  5. With over 300 US colleges now participating, the NAIA sponsors 13 different sports, 23 national championships and awards over $450 million in scholarships.

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President's Physical Fitness Challenge

1960 - 1961
  1. The President's Challenge for physical fitness begins in the 1960's.
    1. The program has grown to include fitness, physical activity, and healthy eating awards for youth, adults, and schools.
  2. More than 50 million kids and teens have taken part in The President's Challenge.
  3. The program has recognized the fitness achievements of and bestowed more than 1 million Presidential Champions awards in its more than 50 year history.

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Title IX Legislation Passes

1972 - 1973
  1. June 23, 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments is enacted by Congress and is signed into law by Richard Nixon.
  2. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving any type of federal financial aid including both sports аnd academics.
  3. Thіѕ law allowed female athletes tο actively participate іn team sports οthеr thаn cheerleading wіth thе financial аnd emotional support οf thе school system.

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