instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

ODE TO THE PAST (with the occasional nod to the present)

The Olympics' ancient roots

The first Olympic games, held in 776 B.C.E. in Olympia, in Greece's Peloponnese peninsula, were among the most notable events in the ancient world. Dedicated to Zeus, they had both athletic and religious significance. Here are a few fun ancient-Olympic facts for you trivia buffs:

* The games were interrupted midstream so that 100 oxen could be sacrificed to appease Zeus.
* The most exciting competition in the day was (what else?) chariot racing.
* Only men and boys who could speak Greek, were free citizens, and had no criminal records could participate in the games.
* The athletes used to compete naked! Who needs a pesky toga getting in the way during that relay race?
* Boxing was one of the original Olympic sports. The athletes would often fight to the death. Ironically, the dead boxer would be declared the winner.
* The first Olympic medalist (well, he won an olive-leaf wreath, not a medal) was a baker. He won for his performance in stadion, the early equivalent of a 200-yard dash.
* The ancient stadium at Olympia held 45,000 people. Thousands of Greeks (and citizens of surrounding states) made the pilgrimage here every four years, and slept in the periphery of the stadium.
Be the first to comment