Very few of our modern Olympic traditions came from the ancient Olympics.
The five rings and the Olympic torch, for example, were the brainchildren of the spectacle-loving Nazi regime that sponsored the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
The French baron who started the modem games in 1896, Pierre de Coubertin, hoped that the games would promote peace and that the world would follow a legendary and perhaps mythical tradition of the ancient games: battles would stop to allow the games to go on.
Instead, the half-century after the founding of the games was the bloodiest ever, and during both world wars, the Olympics were canceled instead of the wars.
The only nonathletic tradition carried over from the ancient games is the spectacle of commercial gain by winning athletes and their sponsors.
Then, as now, they were lionized and often made rich.