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Ancient Olympics Prizes

Ancient Summer Games - Prizes Ancient Summer Games were a series of athletic competitions held among city-states of Olympia, Ancient Greece, from 776 BC to 393 AD. In ancient Summer Games, the participants were neither amateur nor professional. In fact, they were simply athletes, competing for prizes under two categories, "Stephanos" and "Thematikoi". The word "Athlete" can itself be understood from the root words, "Athlos" and "Athlon", which mean "Contest" and "Prize" respectively. The prizes in the ancient Summer Games can be divided into two categories, which include, material prizes, and symbolic prizes.

Material Prizes:

The 23rd Book of Homer's Iliad, an ancient Greek epic poem, provides glimpses of organized Greek athletics. It has been written that, Achilles, a Greek mythical hero, organized funeral games for his friend Patrklos, who was killed in the Trojan war. In all of the eight contested events, the winner were awarded with material Olympic game prizes such as, tripods, cauldrons, valuable metal, oxen, and women.

During the 8th, 7th, and 6th centuries BC, Athletes who won at any of the Pan-Hellenic games were assured of great wealth, as an Olympic game prize.

Roman author Plutarch wrote that, an Olympic victor who was a citizen of Athens could expect to receive a cash award of 500 drachmai as in the year 600 BC, which was literally a fortune. An Isthmian victor would receive 100 drachmai.

According to an Athenian inscription of the 5th century BC, Athenian Olympic victors were privileged to a free meal in the City Hall every day for the rest of their lives as Summer Games awards, which can be seen as a kind of early pension plan.

In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, pensions for athletes became more formalized, which could actually be bought and sold.

Symbolic Prizes:

In ancient Summer Games, the winners were awarded with wreaths made of sprigs taken from Olive, the sacred plant of the patron God. The senior Hellanodikos (judge) used to crown each of the Olympic victor in presence of the spectators. These wreaths were of immense value due to their so believed capability of bringing mystical powers to the bearer. The popular poets of the day were hired to write a victory ode, especially meant for the triumphant athlete. These poems were called " epinicians ", which through their lyrical verses, used to spread the victor's fame nationally and internationally. The poems and the athletes were remembered long after the day of victory.

Also, the Olympic victors were privileged to erect their statue in Olympia, at the holy sanctuary dedicated to the Gods. The statue would bear the name of the athlete, family member's names, and respective city. In this way, apart from winning various prizes, the champions of the Summer Games gained the stature of a hero.

Team USA defeated team Serbia to win its third straight basketball gold medal in Men’s Basketball tournament. The winning team’s coach Mike Krzyzewski was utmost delighted with his team’s victory on the final day of Rio 2016 Olympic Games. USA won by a 19-15 lead and this is their 25th straight victory at the Olympic Games in addition to the 15th straight victory in the basketball tournament. 

Mo Farah of Great Britain has bagged the gold by winning the 5000 meters final and completed the double double. According to media reports, with this victory Farah has become the second man in the history of Olympics to be able to successfully defend his 5000 and 10000 Olympic championships. His victory is being hailed on Twitter with some calling him the greatest long distance runner of all time. Meanwhile, the silver medal has gone to Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo and Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia has bagged the bronze.

In the women's event, Caster Semenya of South Africa won the Olympic gold in the 800m. She won in one minute 55.28 seconds.  Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi won the silver medal and Kenya's Margaret Nyairera Wambui bagged the bronze.

Chen Long of China has taken gold medal in the Rio Olympics 2016 after defeating Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, who has won a silver in men’s badminton today. Lee was facing pressure not to lose the match. He beat Lin Dan of China in the semi-final. Lee and Lin, both are considered to be the best players of their time. With Lee’s defeat, Malaysia has missed out the chance of getting an Olympic gold medal.


Italy came up with a win and is heading to men's volleyball final against Brazil, after defeating USA. The US men's volleyball team tried all their survival skills, but could not stand in front of Italy. The winning team's thriller was 30-28, 26-28, 9-25, 25-22, 15-9. After it was over, US coach John Speraw said that the team was not skilled enough and they did not execute on some of the opportunities, which Italy flawlessly did

French boxer Estelle Mossely celebrated her 24th birthday by winning a gold medal in Women’s lightweight boxing championship. She defeated China’s Yin Junhua after the end of four rounds that had the two defending champions leveled on the scorecards of three judges. The bronze medals were earned by Mira Potkonen of Finland and Anastasia Beliakova of Russia.

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