Ancient Olympic Events
At the ancient Olympics, unlike the modern Games, there were very few events. All events were held at the Olympia Stadium in Greece. Only men competed in the Ancient Olympics, and they competed in the nude.
- Boxing: Boxers fought until one man was knocked out, or admitted he had been beaten. Unlike the modern sport, there were no rounds, and there was no rule against hitting an opponent when he was down.
- Pankration: Like a combination of boxing and wrestling, in this event the combatants were allowed to punch, though biting and gouging an opponent's eyes, nose, or mouth with fingernails was not allowed.
- Wrestling: This event was similar to the modern sport - with three successful throws necessary to win a match. An athlete needed to throw his opponent on the ground, landing on a hip, shoulder, or back for a fair fall. Biting and genital holds were illegal.
- Running: There were 4 types of races at Olympia. The oldest event is the stadion, in which the runners sprinted over the distance of 1 stade (192 m), which is the length of the ancient stadium in Olympic. They also raced over 2-stade race (384 m), and a long-distance run which ranged from 7 to 24 stades (1,344 m to 4,608 m). There was no marathon race, as this was made up for the modern Olympics. They did, however, have a grueling event held over 2 to 4-stade with the competitors wearing armor.
- Equestrian events: There were both chariot racing and riding events. The chariot races were held over 12 laps of the stadium (about 9 miles), and included both 2-horse and 4-horse races, a race for chariots drawn by foals and mules. In the riding events, held over 6 laps around the track (about 4.5 miles), the jockeys rode bareback. There were separate races for adult horses and foals.
- Pentathlon: This event involved a combination of five separate disciplines: Discus, Javelin, Jump, Running, and Wrestling. The running (stadion) and wrestling events were as described above. The discus was similar to the modern event, with the implement made from stone, iron, bronze, or lead. The javelin event was also similar to the modern event, though the javelin was made of wood and had a thong for attaching the thrower's fingers. In the jumping event, the participants held onto lead or stone jump weights (called halteres) which were thrown backwards during the jump to propel them forward and increase the length of their jump.
- History of the Ancient Olympic Games
- About Chariot Racing
- Books about the History of the Olympic Games
- Sports of the modern Olympics
- Extinct Sports