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Ancient Olympic Games Athletes

Ancient Olympics, believed to have originated around 786 BC, are the fore runners of the modern Olympic Games. Started as a tribute to the Greek King Pelops, as per Greek legends, these games were opened to only Greek athletes. Ancient Olympic Games Athletes had to be a citizens of Greek states and should speak Greek. Slaves and females were barred from participation in ancient Olympic games.

Initially there was just one event in ancient Olympic Games in which athletes could particiapte. It was the stadion race - a short sprint measuring between 180 and 240 m. In 724 BC, during the 14th Olympic Games, diaulos - a two stade race- was introduced whereas the year 720 BC saw the inclusion of dolichos, a third foot race. In this event Olympic athletes have to run for approximately three miles much like the modern marathon. Hoplite race was the last running event added to the ancient Olympic Games in around 520 BC.

During the course of the event other sports such as boxing, horse riding, wrestling, pankration and pentathlon found place in ancient Olympic Games. The athletes used to compete nude in the games so as to mark the achievements of human body. The boxing was one of the most brutal sport in which hard leather with metal used to be tied around the hands of the athletes.

In the later stages of Olympics women athletes were allowed in the sole event of equestrianism.

Aurelios Zopyros (Junior Boxing), Acanthus of Sparta (diaulos), Chionis of Sparta (Diaulos, long and triple jump), Diagoras (boxing), Leonidas, Astylos ( diaulos and hoplitodromos )and Milo (wrestling) of Croton were some of the well known ancient Olympic games athletes. Cynisca of Spartia was the first woman athlete to be the Olympic victor.

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