The athletic events

The athletic events

Running is the oldest and rather most important sport of the ancient Olympic Games. The foot race stadion (spanning a length of 192.27 m) was held during the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C. when Koroibos of Elis was declared first winner.

Each Olympiad was named after the winner of this game. Until the 13th Games, the stadion was the only sporting event of the Games.

In 724 B.C., during the 14th Olympic Games, the diaulos (spanning a length of 2x192.27 m) race was introduced. Winner of this game was Ipinos from Pisa. In the 15th games (720 B.C.), the dolichos appeared. The dolichos is the long race, ranging between 1,400-1,800 meters. The winner then was Acanthus of Sparta.

The hoplitodromos or hoplite race (race in full armor) during which runners carried a shield, a helmet, and shin plates was introduced in the 65th Games (520 B.C.). Here, the athletes had to circle the stadium twice. In addition to the running games (stadion, diaulos, dolichos), two more games appeared in 708 B.C., the pentathlon and wrestling (pale). The pentathlon consisted of five events: short foot race (stadion), wrestling, javelin throw, discus throw and the long jump. The discus throw, long jump, and javelin throw were never individual events. Wrestling became an individual game from the first year, best symbolized by Milo of Croton - who won this game for five consecutive Olympic Games.

Presumably, boxing was introduced in 688 B.C. and saw the first winner in Onomastos of Smyrna. Pankration, a combination of wrestling and boxing, appeared in 648 B.C. at the 33rd Olympiad. Its first winner was Lygdamis of Syracuse.

Finally, special reference has to be made to the Equestrian Events (bareback and chariot). These events were not conducted in the stadium but in the Hippodrome - a wide, level, open space with two pillars at the ends, one marking the start and the finish and the other marking the turn-ing post. The oldest of the chariot events, the tethrippon, a four-horse chariot race, appeared during the 25th Games in 680 B.C. with Pagon of Thebes as the triumphant winner. Notably, the owners of the horses were declared winners and not the riders.


History of Olympic Games (Introduction)
The initial form of the Olympic Games
The athletic events
The evolution of the Olympic Games
The days of the Olympic Games
Some other versions about the origins of the Games
The Polynikes (multi-winners)
The meaning of the Olympic Games for Greece
The modern Olympic Games