Olímpia is not named after the ancient town in Greece (see Olympia, Greece), but from Maria Olímpia Rodrigues Vieira, daughter of the politician Dr. Antônio Olímpio Rodrigues Vieira, one of those responsible for the founding of the city.
The city belongs to the Microregion of São José do Rio Preto.
The mineiro Antônio Joaquim dos Santos established a farm on the region in the 19th century. He named the farm, "Sertão dos Olhos-d'Água" (Eyes of Water Backwoods). The engineer Robert John Reid arrived, to demarcate lands of the farm. In March 1903, parts of the farm gave birth to the village of "São João Batista dos Olhos d'Água".
On December 18, 1906, the town was elevated to district of Barretos, receiving the name of "Vila Olímpia", after Maria Olímpia Rodrigues Vieira, daughter of the potician Dr. Antônio Olímpio Rodrigues Vieira, one of the responsibles for the city creation. In 1907 the first cinema theater was built in Vila Olímpia, the Cine São João, by Miguel Haidar and Guilherme Costa. In 1910, Cap. Narciso Bertolino founded the first school in town. A cemetery named São José was first opened in 1914.
The municipality of Olímpia was established in December 7, 1917, with the emancipation from Barretos.