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Ancient Olympics: Start of the Famous "Games" We All Know and Love

Olympics: The Game of Sports

The Olympics is basically a tribute to all of the gods’ and goddesses strengths. It all started with an athletic game that was played every two years called the Isthmos, and played in the Isthmos of Corinth.   Then, the Pythian Games were played every four years near a place called Delphi.  Following that, was the most important of all the games, played in Olympia, in honor of Zeus, in about 700 B.C. This also came around every four years like the Pythian Games. Women weren’t even allowed to watch the games, and chosen Greek nationals could be part in the Olympics. The Olympics greatly increased from a one-day wrestling and athletic game, to a five-day multi-challenge game in 472 B.C. The first day of the festival was very religious and was dedicated to sacrifices, along with the Middle Day, which 100 oxen were sacrificed to one of the gods, and athletes also gave small sacrifices. On day two of the games, the main event, called the foot-games, were held in an arena. There were only four types of races; one was the stadion, where runners sprinted for 192 meters, or the length of one stade. The other was a 2-stade race, or a total of 384 meters, the next was a long distance run, which was about 7-24 stades or 1344-4608 meters. The last one was a race that was only 2-4 stades long, and the men had to wear complete armor, kind of like training for military purposes. Any other days would include wrestling, boxing, a mix of the two, called pancratium were involved. Boxing was a little harsher, because the men would wrap straps of soft leather over their fingers as a boost of their hits. Later, the leather got harder, and was also laced with metal, which was even worse. They also had horse-racing, but was a popular attraction, even though it was basically a “rich-man’s” game. The rules consisted of them running around a track 6 times, or for 6 laps. It was so consisted on the wealthy people, that the owner of the horse, and not the rider, would get the olive wreath. Also related to horse-racing, was chariot racing, and had both 2 and 4 horse chariot races. The Pentathlon was a series of sprinting, long-jumping, javelin-hurling, discus-throwing, and wrestling.

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