The Mediterranean Games are a multi-sport games held every four years, mainly for nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea, where Europe, Africa and Asia meet. The idea was proposed at the 1948 Summer Olympics by Muhammed Taher Pasha, chairman of the Egyptian Olympic Committee, and they were first held in 1951. The first 10 games took place always one year preceding the Olympics. However, from 1993 on, they were held the year following the Olympic games. The Games were inaugurated on October 1951, in Alexandria, Egypt, in honour of Muhammed Taher Pasha, the man to whom their inspiration is owed, with contests being held in 13 sports along with the participation of 734 athletes from 10 countries. Ever since, they take place every 4 years without any interruption. In 1955, in Barcelona, during the II Games, the set up was decided of a Supervisory and Controlling Body for the Games, a kind of Executive Committee. The decisions were finally materialized on June 16, 1961, and the said Body was named, upon a Greek notion, ICMG (International Committee for the Mediterranean Games).
The Mediterranean Games, in terms of the preparation and composition of the National Delegation, are held under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee and the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC). However, their establishment too must be credited to the HOC, for it held a leading part in their being founded despite all difficulties.
Athens is the permanent seat of the ICMG (regardless of who the President might be) and the Committee’s General Secretary is Greek. This comes as a further tribute to Greece, highlighting its leading role with regard to the function and strengthening of the institution. Except that Greece bailed out of its 2013 Mediterranean Games commitment when the two cities of Volos and Larissa were supposed to host the 2013 edition of the Games. But because of Greece's financial troubles, they had to give that up and the 2013 honors went instead to Turkey, with the city of Mersin rescuing the 2013 edition of the Games instead.
The logo of the games, also referred to as the "Mediterranean Olympics", is composed of three white rings symbolically representing Africa, Asia, and Europe — the three continents that border the Mediterranean Sea. This logo has been used since the Split games in 1979, for which it was devised and afterwards accepted for the whole Games. During the closing ceremony, the flag of the games is transferred to the country of the city chosen for the organisation of the next Mediterranean Games.
Allen Guttman in The Games Must Go On argued that Israel's exclusion is both antisemitic and politically motivated due to antagonism towards Israel by the participating Arab nations. The IOC's Avery Brundage was not supportive of Israel's desire to compete, saying: "I cannot understand why anyone wants to go where he is not wanted". The International Amateur Athletics Federation pushed the issue at the 1959 Mediterranean Games in Beirut by refusing to grant permission to hold an athletics competition unless Israel were allowed to compete. Lebanese games organiser Gabriel Gemayel conceded to this, but sidestepped the ruling by holding a parallel Lebanese Games comprising athletics events between the present nations alongside the official Mediterranean Games competitions.
The symbol of the Mediterranean Games consists of three rings representing Asia, Africa and Europe, the three continents involved in this competition. The rings dissolve in a wavy line in their lower part, as if they were immersed in the Mediterranean Sea. During the closing ceremony, the flag is transferred to the country of the city chosen to host the next Mediterranean Games.
The International Mediterranean Games Committee held a meeting on October 20, 2012 in Mersin, Turkey, and decided to organize the Mediterranean Beach Games every 4 years starting from 2015. The Games consist only water sports and beach sports, which aim at bringing together young athletes of the Mediterranean area, giving them the opportunity to participate in sport events.
The sports included in the program of the 1st Mediterranean Beach Games are the following: Sea Rowing, Beach Badminton, Sea Canoeing, Beach Football, Beach Handball, Kayak Polo, Beach Wrestling, Fin Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Sports Fishing, Beach Rugby, Water Ski & Wakeboard, Surfing, Beach Tennis, Triathlon, Sailing and Beach Volleyball. Pescara (Italy) was awarded the rights to host the first edition of the Mediterranean Beach Games.