Ancient Greek Olympics


Reporting today\'s Olympic games is like a technological masterpiece.

The athletes compete in many events, their times and scores are tallied and

sent worldwide by satellites and high-tech computers within seconds. Each

event is carefully watched and recorded with a sense of history. There was no

such sense of history or records when the first Games began in Ancient

Greece.

The first recorded champion in Greece was a sprinter, Coroebus, he

was a cook in a near by Greek city called, Elis. He ran naked on a sanded

course in front of thousands of spectators. The course was about 630 feet

long "or one stad-from which the word stadium was derived." His victory

won him a wreath of olive leaves.

That was in 776 BC and this year became very important to later

Greek Historians. In 300 BC all time was dated by Olympiads, a time span

of four years between the games. The Olympiad began with the first

recorded foot race.

As far back in Greek time as anyone can remember, the human body

was a very beautiful thing. "A body of a man had glory, as well as his mind,

that both needed discipline, and by that such discipline men best honored

Zeus." From time to time the Greeks held ceremonies of Games in honor

of their god Zeus. They held these ceremonies for the areas in which they

took place. These places were, Pythian, Isthmian, Nemeam, and of course,

Olympian. The Olympian games go back to the time of the first people

to live in the valley of Alpheas River. There in Elis, in the western

Peloponnesus was Olympia, "the fairest spot in Greece." This land was filled

with beauty and snowcapped mountains. This area was a perfect spot for

the ceremonies held every four years, for Zeus.

In 1875, the most important ruins of Ancient Greece were uncovered.

One important ruin that was discovered was the temple of Zeus, that was in

use about 2,500 years ago. Near it was the temple for his wife, Hera that was

even older. It was used about 2,900 years ago. Another important discovery

was the finding of the statue of Hermes. Hermes was sculpted by the

Praxiteles. This statue was found in the Hera\'s Temple. Contained in the

Temple of Zeus was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it was a

statue of Zeus sitting on his throne, it was larger then a two-story house.

This great masterpiece was made by, Phidias, it was made of ivory and gold.

Soon everyone wanted to win the favor of their god, Zeus. By 500

BC , Sparta, Elis, Athens, and Syracuse had rivaled each other to offer

their gifts to the temple.
To be entered into the Games, the candidates went into a gymnasium at Elis, and were tested for the Games. The ten-month training was the most valuable preparation the athletes could undergo. For ten months they lived in the gymnasium, they practiced all day, and all night. They were constantly watched over by the professional trainers. The officials of Elis would decide who was fit enough to compete in the Olympic Games, and receive the prizes.
The people of Elis won the first thirteen Olympic races. Soon people from all around Greece joined the games. They came from Crete, Rhodes, Sicily, Asia Minor, and Egypt. These games served as a common link to the Hellenic world.
Nothing was more important to the Greeks then the Games, not even wars. During the month of the festival, no one with weapons was allowed into Olympia. The Olympics was far more important to the Greeks then any war, there was peace throughout Greece during the month of the Olympics.
This period of time was called the Hieromenia.
The first athletes of the Olympics were sprinters. Twenty sprinters lined up on a straight track, the bugle sounded off and they ran as fast as they could to the finish line. Soon the Games began to expand in variety, longer races were added to the games. Then pentathlons were introduced and so was the three mile run.
The discus was a favorite of the Greeks. The man who threw the farthest was regarded as the greatest athlete.
Boxing was introduced in 688 BC. The boxers would wear leather straps and metal rings around their knuckles. The fight would only end when the opponent would