Ancient Greek Sports

By Jarrett Taylor


  • Was originally a religious festival in honor of the Greek god Zeus
  • Was held ever four years at Olympia
  • People have called the Olympics at this time funeral games, initiation, offering to the gods and more because the loser were killed in honor of Zeus
  • The date of 776b.c. as the first Olympics games refers to the first attested victor, Koroibos of Eli's, victor of the stadion of the 218 yard sprint
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New Olympic Sports

  • After 40 years of having only one sport of competition the athletes demanded to have sports with speed, endurance, and stamina.
  • These sports added were various races, pentathlon, wresting, boxing, chariot racing, horse and mule racing, and contests for heralds and trumpeters.

Able to Compete

  • To be eligible to compete in the Olympics you had to be a free (non-slave) male Greek (non-barbarian, but Romans were permitted later).
  • Along with that the athletes had to swear that they would follow the rules and that they had been training for the 10 previous months.

Competing Info

  • All athletes during the Olympics except charioteers competed completely nude making women not able to watch the Olympics and if a woman came it was punishable by death.
  • Athletes before competing would cover themselves in olive oil and the reason for this is not known but suggestion have been made that it was to keep sand out the pores of skin, sunscreen, protect the body against cold or heat, and more.
  • Just like athletes today many would try to throw off their opponent all with the refs by chirping or verbally abusing them.
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  • sport that combined wrestling, boxing, and marital arts
  • Only thing known about the rules was that biting and gouging of the eyes was illegal
  • Most of the sport was fought on the ground and consisted of short punches
  • Most people who participated in the sport were upperclass
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  • Most popular sport in Greece
  • Did not have weight classes but rather separated competitors by age
  • To select their opponent the would draw a name from a long skinny glass
  • Normally ended in a draw since the sports did not have rounds
  • Historians knew that the winner was the person would got their opponent to fall 3 times, but historians did not know how a fall was determined
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  • Thought to be the most violent sport
  • Consisted of long punches from a distance
  • Had long strips or leather to wrap around their hand leaving the fingers exposed called himantes
  • later had harder and sharper wraps introduced to hurt their opponent more
  • Winner was the person to knock out their opponent or make them forfeit
  • Officials had poles to make the arena smaller to force the boxers to fight instead of exhausting their opponent
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