With the Olympic Game fever rampant around the world right now, it is necessary to look back at how and where this mania all began. We all have a faint idea - like - it began in ancient Greece where Spartans and Athenians among others would come together every four years to play some games. Here are five facts from the ancient Olympic games I bet you have seldom heard. Ready?
1.The games were held for the gods: the Olympians.
The Roman emperor Theodosius banned all pagan stuff, including these games which were in existence for about 12 centuries. Ever since then, the last known record of the games' revival begins in Athens, Greece in 1896, after which time it has been played consistently.
2. Pankration or ‘do it the way you want Wrestling’
This was a legal practice and crucial part of the games. Although biting and poking people’s eyes was banned, whatever the wrestler improvised was accepted, including strangling. Dare you say you hate rules and regulations anymore!
3. What did they play back then?
No, table tennis was not a thing of the yore. Let me tell you what was in vogue back then: javelin, discus, chariot racing, horse racing (without stirrups), running, sprinting, long and high jump, boxing with leather gloves, and of course, the pankration.
4. Married women could not take part!
Worse yet, only Spartan women mostly took part. Reported cases of women masking as men to participate in the game are documented. Well well, I am glad we have finally dawned into an enlightened society.
5. (Here’s a girl’s favorite)
All the competitors were mostly built, athletic men and they were generally bare or naked, with maybe a hint of olive oil coating on their bodies. Smooth, huh?
With these fascinating facts about the olden day games, it is kind of unusual to see what the games have become for people today. They are no longer restricted to Greece; they have occurred in almost every big city in the world. No gods are honored, but talents are. No reckless life-threatening games are played, but some really weird ones are. No naked men painted in oil are seen, but sometimes some really handsome ones shine forth. We can be thankful a lot has changed, but thank goodness the one thing that should not change, has not changed: the display of athleticism and prodigious talent.