Olympic Games And The Ancient Greek Athletics

Olympic Games

In ancient Greek, the word “Olympic” consists of serious athletic competitions of the representatives from many states.

Historically, they began first in 776 B.C. in Olympia, southwest of Greece. Held in honor of Zeus, Olympic Games encompassed the mythological origin.

Dating back to 776 B.C., the Games took place every four years. No woman was allowed to join in the Games. Only the Greece men could

The ancient Greek athletes in Olympic Games

take part in such the honorable sporting events!

Mystically, inside the temple in Olympia, there was a statue of Zeus made of gold and ivory by Pheidias – the Greek sculptor.

Legend says that the great Greek athletic contests happened in 5 days.

  • The first day was generally considered to be the sacrifice and praying day, when 100 oxen were killed in honor of God. In addition, the athletes also prayed intensively.
  • The second day was the foot-race event that took place in the stadium. Overall, there were 4 major types of race:

1. The runners sprinted in the stadium 192m in length (1 round).
2. The runners sprinted in the stadium 384m in length (2 rounds).
3. The competitors run a long distance from 1,344m to 4,608m (7 – 24 rounds).
4. The competitors wore full armor and run from 384m to 768 m (2 – 4 rounds).

  • On the three leftover days, there were ancient wrestling, and boxing.
Olympic Games

Evidentially, the ancient Greek athletes were born with the great sense of competition and triumph.

Hence, becoming a champion at Olympic Games was normally regarded as one of the greatest honors.

It is worth pointing out that the Greek athletes competed mainly for honor and recognition, not for material goods.

Regarding the victory ceremony, the

Ancient Greek Olympics were held in honor of God

champion would receive his award instantly while the Greek Judge placed a palm branch in his hands. Meanwhile,the audiences threw flowers to him cheerfully. As a sign of victory, red ribbons were tied on his head and hands as well.

Playing a significant role in Greek society, Athletics was primarily emphasized in the Greek educational program. Every Greek boy was educated with the strong attention on Athletics, Music, Philosophy, etc. Thus, it can be said that Athletics was as important as other academic subjects in Greece.

Spiritually, Olympic Games took place as a part of religious ceremony in honor of Gods and the deceased heroes.

Up to now, the Games have been internationalized and become the great sporting events when athletes all around the globe compete for both honor and medals. The highly sporting spirit of the ancient Greek athletes still remains and has a huge impact on their descendants.