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Olympic Myths

The ancient Olympics, which has inspired the modern games, is believed to have been initiated around 776 BC. However, over the years, a number of myths have cropped up regarding the ancient games.

Myth of Pelops

One of these concerns Pelops, who was a prince from Lydia. As the legend goes, Pelops sought the hand of Hippodamia, the daughter of King Oinomaos of Pisa. But asking for Hippodamia's hand was not without peril. Oinomaos had declared that his daughter's suitors should compete with him in a chariot race. If the suitor wins he gets to marry Hippodamia. but if he loses, he would be beheaded.

Determined to marry Hippodamia, Pelops devised a clever strategy. The young prince, along with his charioteer Myrtilos, secretly replaced the bronze linchpins of the King's chariot with wax linchpins. During the race, the wax melted and Oinomaos was thrown from his chariot and died. Pelops and Hippodamia got married and Pelops celebrated his victory with the Olympic Games.

Myth of Greek hero Herakles

Another myth that is widely in circulation is the one regarding the Greek hero Herakles. Poet Pindar, in his Olympian Ode, tells the tale of how King Augeas of Elis reneged on his promise to reward Herakles for cleaning his stables. An infuriated Herakles attacked and sacked Elis and started the Olympic Games in honor of his father Zeus.

Common Misconceptions about Ancient Olympics

Here are some misconceptions regarding the ancient games:
  • The ancient Olympics was devoid of any form of commercialism. Though billions of dollars in print and TV advertising, corporate sponsorships and endorsements may have become an integral part of the modern games, especially in the late 20th and the 21st century, commercialism was prevalent back then also.
  • The licensed merchants ran their own food and drink stands at the games. They also sold souvenirs to people. But merchants selling inferior goods or overpricing their goods could be fined on the spot by the organizers of the games. Moreover, the winners had their images on coins as well as statues that were commissioned by the government.


Last updated on April 26, 2016

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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