18 March 2005
World History 1
History of the Ancient Olympic Games
The Ancient Greek Olympics were not only sporting events, it was a celebration to honor the great and powerful Zeus. The Ancient Olympics were held every four years at the famous Olympia, a district of Elis, here all free Greek men were allowed to compete. The first record of the Olympic Games was held in 776 B.C. The main sports were the Pentathlon, the Equestrian Events, Pankration, and Boxing. The Pentathlon was the name for the five events in Greek gymnastics: running, jumping, wrestling, discus throwing, and javelin throwing which began with the 18th Olympiad. In the wrestling event, wrestlers were anointed with oil, dusted with powder, and forbidden to bite or gouge one another. Wrestling was looked upon as a weapon-free military exercise. Since there was no weapons wrestlers that competed used their weight and strength as an advantage especially since there were no weight categories. The Javelin was thrown in the same form back in ancient times as it is thrown today. The first recorded Olympic Games had one event, a race, called the stade which is a measure of the distance of the length of the track. By 724 B.C. a two-length race was added and by 700 B.C. there were longer distance races. By 720 B.C., men participated naked, except in the foot race in armor that weighed between fifty to sixty pounds. The outfit included a helmet, greaves, and a shield that helped young men build speed and stamina in preparation for war. The Pentathlon included three running events such as the Stade, the Diaulos, and the Dolichos. The Stade was a 200 yard foot race, was the first and only Olympic event for 13 Games. The dolichos was a variable length foot race averaging twenty stades or four thousand yards for the fifteenth Olympiad. The Diaulos was a four hundred yard foot race that was instituted for the next Olympic Games. The discus was considered by ancient Greeks, an...
Cited: Coote, James. A Picture History of the Olympics. London, England: Tom Stacey Limited, 1972.
Kristy, Davida. Olympics How the Games Began. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Lerner Publications Company, 1995.
Grolier, the Associated Press. The Olympic Story. Danbury, Connecticut: Grolier Enterprises INC., 1979.
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