From Olympics to Cricket and Football World Cup, all the major sporting events are held at a gap of 4 years and we all know that. 

Press TV

What most of us don’t know, is the reason behind it. 

Why 4 years specifically? Why not 3, 5 or any other number?

Ladown Town News

Well, research tells us that this trend started with Olympic Games, that were held every 4 years at Olympia from 776 BC through 393 AD. 

This period of four years was called an ‘Olympiad’, which was used as a measure of time, just like years.

ABC News

During this period, 4 sets of ‘Panhellenic Games’ were held to mark the calendar (Panhellenic means ‘of or representing all people of Greek origin or ancestry’).

And one of them was Olympics Games, which were revived in 1896 in Athens with modern rules.

Manchester Historian

There was one thing that remained the same, though, and it was the tradition of taking a 4-year-gap between two editions.

Post that, all major sports adopted this as a rule to avoid any clash and maintain a uniform breather between the tournaments.


Coming to the FIFA World Cup, the football tournament which was started in 1930. 

It is said that apart from the above mentioned reasons, the 4-year gap was provided so that the spectators and teams had enough time to travel. 


It was the time when travelling on airplanes was not common and it took months to reach a place via sea or road. 

This way players also got time to work on their health and injuries, besides giving the organizers a chance to arrange everything with considerable time at their hand. 

Sufficient Velocity

A great number of qualification matches is another reason why FIFA needs time between two editions of the World Cup. 

Hindustan Times

Who knew there is so much history behind the 4-year-gap!