The Sports Geek: Crazy Facts About the Early Olympics

By August 9, 2012

Watching the Olympics is a daily reminder of how far we can push our limits.  The story of the original “Marathon” was one of the messenger, Pheidippides, who ran to Athens to give word of the result of the battle, and then collapsed and died. The early Olympic games looking nothing like the games of today. Here are a few interesting facts about the early Olympics.

  • In the early olympics the boxers would fight to the death. The last fighter left alive would be declared the winner.

  • Olympic winners were believed to be blessed by the Gods and chosen for their victory.
  • Instead of winning gold, early Olympic athletes would win a symbolic “olive branch.”

  • During the early Olympic games, all of Greece was declared under truce, a time of peace – there could be no use of capital punishment, no wars and or battles.
  • Early Olympic athletes competed in the nude.

  • Ancient games included the hoplitodromos – a race in which competitors would run 400 or 800 yards in full armor with shields and a helmet or greaves (leg armor).

  • Married women were banned at the Ancient Olympics under the penalty of death. Only single ladies were allowed to watch.

I think this stuff is absolutely fascinating. What are some other interesting facts about the early Olympics?