The Oldest Olympic Sports (part 1)

The Olympic Games were invented and debuted at a sanctuary site for the Greek dieties in Olympia in 776 B.C. by the Ancient Greeks. Foot races, several combat sports and equestrian events comprised the very first Olympic sports which are still in the Games today in a modified form.

In this article, let’s discover those oldest Olympic Sports!

Boxing (Pygmachia)

The sport was introduced in 688 B.C. and still in the game today. It is not only one of the oldest Olympic sports, but it is also the oldest contact sports. After being introduced, boxing was present at every ancient Olympiad and popular for over one thousand years.

Acient boxing was very rough in comparison to modern boxing which has rules to ensure athletes’ safety. Originally, fighters wore ox hide leather wraps called himantes and oxys around their hands, knuckles, and wrists which occasionally led to deaths during matches. These ancient boxing matches only lasted for one round and winning boxers must knock out the opponent unconscious or get them to submit.

Wrestling (Palé)

The game was debuted in 708 B.C. along with the pentathlon which was the first ever combat sport added to Olympic Games and also the safest of the three Greek combat sports. The Greeks wrestling styles include upright wrestling on sand pit (orthe palé), and ground wrestling on wet sand (kato palé).

Long Distance Running (Dolichos)

The sport was introduced in 720 B.C. which was the third running event added to the Olympics and still in the game with the closest equivalent is 5000 m race. The dolichos took place in a stadion with variety of distance from 3,465 m (11,368.11 ft) to 4,620 m (15,157.48 ft). Like any other a long distance race, the runners did not exert a lot of effort in the early laps but only moved a little faster than walking speed. They only increased the pace in the last laps and sprinted to the finish. Another interesting point of this sport is that competitors had to loop around a pole called a kampter at the end of each lap to continue the race.