The 2012 Olympics have arrived. Athletes from all over the world have descended on London, England to put their bodies and skills to the test.
For many, watching this global test of athleticism is a tradition held every four years, but it hasn't always been that way. According to Greek mythology, the Olympic games were created by Heracles, one of the most famous Greek heroes.
They were dedicated to the Olympian gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia in Greece. The first recorded history of the games can be traced back to 776 B.C., when King Iphitus brought opposing nations together in an effort to prevent war and plague, which were common in Greece.
When the the Greeks declared the Olympic truce, soldiers had to put down their weapons and stop fighting during the games.
This continued for nearly 12 centuries, until Emperor Theodosius in 393 A.D., compared the games to "pagan cults," and banned them.
The world went without this athletic clash of nations for the next 1,500 years. But on April 6, 1896 the International Olympic Committee formed and revived the games. The first location they chose was Athens, Greece. 13 nations sent 280 athletes to compete in 43 events.
Americans won nine out of the 12 events they competed in. It's tradition that a different city host this cornucopia of competition every four years.
Of course we take pride in those who represent the Stars and Stripes: athletes like Kerri Strug, Mary Lou Retton, Michael Johnson, Mark Spitz, Edwin Moses, the 1992 Dream Team, and, of course, one of the most decorated Olympians in modern history, Michael Phelps.
The list of great Olympic athletes from America is much longer.
This is first time since 1948 the games have returned to London.