First Olympics - The Greek Contests

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Introduction The Olympics of Ancient Greece were much different from the Olympics we know today. When we think of an Olympic athlete it is one who has proven himself not only to be a champion in his own country, but one of world-class skill. This idea contrasts with the Ancient Olympic athlete who could only be a free man that spoke Greek. Furthermore, there were fewer events in the games of old. There wasn't any water polo, ping pong, or any other games that strayed from the basic contests. Another way the games of Ancient Greece differ from the modern games is that the ancient games were always held in the same city of Olympia. That is much different from today, as the games are held in a different country every time and nations compete for the honor of holding the games in their country years in advance. Two things do remain constant though, the games are still held every four years and winning athletes are treated like gods. (Perseus) Contests Running Events Stadion, Diaulos, Dolichos The stadion was the first of the running events added in 776 B.C. It was the featured, and most prestigous event of the olympic games and, therefore, was held at the end of the program. The race was held at the altis, beginning at the balbis, or starting line. The runners would sprint one length, or stade, and finish at the Altar of Zeus. The distance covered was approximately 600 ancient feet, or 200 meters. Following the stadion, the addition of two longer distance races, the diaulos and dolichos were added in 724 B.C. and 720 B.C., respectively. The diaulos was twice the length of the stadion, or two stade, in which 22 competitors ran in two lanes, side by side. The name diaulos actually means "Two barraled flu... ... middle of paper ... ...played and it's job was to keep rhythm while the competitors were running towards the pit. Wrestling At Pale(wrestling), to win the competitor must throw his opponent to the ground three times. To be counted as a fall the competitor's back, shoulders, or hip must hit the ground. Another way is if your opponent raises his right hand with the index finger pointed. Works Cited Miller, Stephen. Greek Sports From Ancient Sources. University of California Press. Berkely and Los Angeles, California. ©1991. Perseus Project: Ancient Olympic Events. Poliakoff, Michael. Combat Sports in the Ancient World. Yale University Press. New Haven and London. ©1987. Swaddling, Judith. The Ancient Olympic Games. Austin, Texas. ©1980 Young, David C. The Olympic Myth of Greek Amateur Athletics. Chicago ©1984.

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