Ancient Olympics

Ancient Olympics

During the times of the Ancient Olympics only men who spoke Greek were allowed to compete. Like the olympics nowadays, winning athletes became heros and their home towns were put on the map. The first ancient Olympics Games can be traced back to 776 BC. They were dedicated to the Olympian gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia.

The Games were closely linked to the religious ceremonies and festivals of the Greek gods and goddesses. They were used as ways to show the physical strength and endurance of the young and also as a way to keep peace among the cities of Greece. The isthmos games took place every two years at the Isthmos of Corinth. The Pythian games took place every four years near Delphi. The most famous games held at Olympia also took place every four years. Not only were the women not allowed to compete in the games, they were also not allowed to watch them.

When someone was to win, he received his award immediately after the competition. After his name was announced by the herald, a Hellanodikis (Greek judge) would place a palm branch in his hands, while the spectators cheered and threw flowers to him. Red ribbons were tied on his head and hands as a mark of victory. The official award ceremony took place on the last day of the Games, at the temple of Zeus. In a loud voice, the herald would announce the name of the Olympic winner, his father's name, and his homeland. Then, the Hellanodikis placed the sacred olive tree wreath, or kotinos, on the winner's head.

Through the 12 centuries of the Olympic Games, many wonderful athletes competed in the stadium, moving the crowds with their great achievements. Although mortal, their Olympic victories immortalised them. Of the best athletes who competed in Olympia, some became legends by winning in multiple Olympic Games and remaining the best at their sport for more than a decade.

All free male Greek citizens were allowed to participate in the ancient Olympic Games. No matter their...

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