The Olympics have been around for over 2,700 years, and the ancient Greeks had a pretty cool lineup of events that they practiced. But what were those events anyway? Let’s take a look at 10 Ancient Olympic Events: What They Were And How We Sportify Them!
Let’s roll down…
The first Olympic Games are rooted in the Greeks, though the Olympic event’s genesis mythologies are somehow dubious. In ancient periods it was believed that Olympic Games were attributed to the gods though, persisting legends have given different accounts of the same. Nonetheless, reading aback, it was supposedly believed that the origins of multiple aspects of Olympic events date back to the Mycenaean period.
Altogether the Greek myths attributed the Olympic events to the hero Herakles who devised the running game at Olympia to celebrate the completion of one of his twelve labors. Olympia was serene, and it held the sanctuary to the god Zeus, so Olympic events were held in his honor.
The Olympic events at Olympia were among the most important and prestigious of the four national athletic festivals in Greek. They date back to 776 BC, and the events were officially held once every four years (the four-year cycle was also known as Olympiads). The events at Olympia continued with minor interruptions from the emperor Theodosius 1, mainly due to his endeavor to impose Christianity. Nonetheless, the events continued through Christian times and were the inspiration behind the modern-day Olympic events.
The first Olympic events took place in Olympia, Greek, a sanctuary holding for the Greek god. The first Olympic event to be constituted in the competition was foot races. Among the most prestigious events at Olympia was the running race. At this time, the tradition of athletic nudity was introduced and adopted in early Olympic events. Meanwhile, the only competition held in the first twelve Olympics was the stadion race. It was a long sprint, just about 190 meters measured after Hercule’s feet.
Altogether, the olympiad period was attributed to the winner, and dates were actually documented to the victor’s list. Besides the stadion events, other Olympic race such as the ridiculous was introduced in the 14 cycles (Olympiad). Following the latter’s success, a third race, believed to be a long one, was introduced in the 15th triad. Other additions to the races were made over time. However, accounts of the distances variably differ; as such, we cannot make precise speculations of the same.
Apart from the races, another big attraction to the Olympic Games marked by other events including pankration, wrestling, and boxing, all categorized as combat in modern times.
Wrestling is believed to have been introduced in the 18th Olympic events. It required exemplary skills; it deployed throws that are still exhibited in modern wrestling. Boxing, a boy’s event, was introduced as part of the Olympic events in 688 BC. This Olympic event was actually very violent. Unlike modern-day boxing, there were no separate rounds, and the contestants fought till the opponent could accept defeat.
At first, in ancient Greek, boxers wore thin strips of leather around their fists. Over time though, boxing gloves were finally developed. In the following Roman period, boxing gloves were weighted with iron or lead to afflict massive damage. Pankration was introduced in the 33rd Olympic event; it constituted wrestling and boxing and was less dangerous than the latter two. Every tactic was permissible except for gouging and biting.
Besides the above, other famous events in the Olympic events in ancient Greece include the pentathlon that appeared in the 18th Olympiad; it combined wrestling, javelin throw, running, long jump, and discus throw. Finally, equestrian events were also part of the Olympic events. It consisted of chariot and horse racing that was mainly reserved for the rich. In addition, a variety of Olympic events and festivals continued to occur in various locations in ancient Greek, some of which are actually known to us to date.
In conclusion, the Olympics are a universal, worldwide event that brings people together to celebrate the best of humanity. They’re also an opportunity for us all to learn about how our ancestors lived and celebrated life in ancient Greece. By taking this time every four years to reflect on what it means to be human, we can hopefully find inspiration from these games so many centuries ago – not just as athletes but as citizens of the planet Earth. How might you use this information? Consider using some Olympic events with your students at school or encourage them by providing opportunities for physical activity outside during recess periods or afterschool programs!
Young, David C. (2004). A Brief History of the Olympic Games. Blackwell Publishing https://is.muni.cz/el/1451/jaro2011/bk900/um/A_Brief_History_of_the_Olympic_Games__CuPpY_.pdf