Ancient Olympics

How it all began

The 2012 London Olympics mark the 30th time the Games have been held since their rebirth as a modern event in 1896. But the very first Olympics for which there are records

were in 776BC, when a naked athlete won a single event - a 192-metre run. Thereafter, the ancient Games were played every four years in Greece for almost 1,200 years until

they were abolished by Roman emperor Theodosius the Great. It would then be more a millennium before they were resurrected as the Olympics we know today.




Mediterranean Sea



Aegean Sea

Olympia about 425BC

Games were held avery four

years in Olympia. In the

years between, athletics

events took place in other

Greek cities (see map)

Hill of Kronos

Ground was packed earth

Stadium track

Hippadrome (stadium for chariot racing)

No stands around the stadium, 50 people watched standing up

Temple of Zeus


Heras Temple

Magistrate's House

Bath Houses

Sacred olive tree

Council House

River Kladeos

Swimming bath

Workshop of Phidias


There was only one winner whose prize was a wreath or crown of leaves

Different Crowns by city

Prize for winner

Olympia Olive leaves

500 drachmas

Nemea Celery leaves

(Equivalent to money earned by skilled worker in 15 years)

Delphi Laurel leaves

Isthmia Pine leaves

Five days of Games

1st Oath to respect the rules of the event

2nd Equestrian events and pemtatj;pm (discus, long jump, Javelin, running and wrestling)

3rd Festival to honour Zeus and other gods

4th Different foot races and combat sports

5th Honouring victorious athletes and a banquet



A leather strap fixed to the shaft of the javelin to form a loop.

The athlete inserted his index and second fingers into the loop allowing him to increase the distance the javelin was thrown


Thin leather strap tight around the javelin

No metal tip or other special point at the end



6kg (2kg in modern Games) made from stone or steel.

Possibly its origin was as a hand-thrown weapon

Athletes covered their body with olive oil and then dusted it with fine sand.

The combination helped to regulate body temperature as well as protest them from the sun

They participated completely naked

Chariot racing

Dangerous but popular event, Chariots were modified war chariots.

The charioteer did not receive any prize - it went to the owner of the horses


Foot races of different distances:

Stade 200m

Diaulos 400m

Dolichos 2,400m

The shortest foot race, the stade, was one length of the stadium track




Stadium track

Hoplite race

A foot race in whih athletes ran two lengths of the stadium wearing armour




Finish Start Stadium track Two lengths (about 400m)


Locals who were specially trained. They could fine, whip or expel cheaters

Stick to measure distances


Participants had to force opponent's back. Shoulder or hip to touch the ground


A mix of boxing, wrestling and free fighting. Two acts were forbidden; eye gouging and biting




Covered their hands with leather strips

Long jump

The athletes carried weights called halteres in their hands to improve the jump



Usually made from stone or bronze in a variety of shapes

Hole for thumb

Start of jump

Swinging the arms has been shown to increase the length of a jump

With these aids, they would have achieved excellent results close to modern standards


Athletes threw the halteres backwards as they landed, thus gaining a little extra push at the end

Ancient Olympics

shared by adolfux on Aug 10, 2012 in Olympics


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Newspaper graphic about olympics games in the ancient Greek. Mix traditional illustrations with information.
Category: Olympics
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