The history of olives and olive oil dates back to the history of organized human communities. Ancient Greeks regarded the olive as the prime symbol of glory and victory. Therefore, they crowned the Olympic Games winners with a wild olive wreath, the renowned kotinos, which they called kallistefano in Greek, (meaning wreath of unparalleled beauty). This tradition was actually established in the very first Olympic Games, held in 776 B.C in ancient Olympia.
According to Herodotus, Ploutarchos and Pausanias as well as additional sources , the city of Athens - the capital of Greece back then as now - took this particular name when its residents adopted the offer of the ancient goddess Athena (an olive tree) rather than the one made by god Poseidon, who extended a spring of salt water gushing out of a cliff. Similarly, the Spartans used olive oil while exercising in the gymnasia.