Ancient Greek Olympics and Their Term Paper

  • Length: 20 pages
  • Subject: Sports
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #52612985

Excerpt from Term Paper :

As Richard Polidoro and Uriel Simri (1996) write, "

Most of the athletes participating in the Games of 676 BC probably came from various Peloponnesian districts and had a relatively short distance to travel. Some participants, however, may have traveled from communities located outside the immediate vicinity. Under the sacred truce, or ekecheiria, the athletes, officials, and spectators were guaranteed safe passage to and from Olympia."

Another important factor to note is that there were no such professional and specialized training institutes or organizations for the Greek athletes who participated in the events. Therefore, the athletes, more often than not, belonged to the wealthy class. Therefore it is fair to say that the Greek Olympics had been an event sponsored by the rich and participated by the rich. Finley and Pleket (1976) write, "The athletes of the 26th Olympiad probably came from the wealthy class, since only the wealthy would have had the finances and time to train and to travel to Olympia. Although formal training regimens for the Games became standard in later times, the athletes participating in the Games of 676 BC most likely trained and prepared for the Games on their own. They had no specialized coaches or trainers, and training facilities such as the gymnasium and the palaestra were not developed until the early 6th century BC."

Yet another important factor to note is the fact the being rich had not been the only aspect common amongst the athletes. As Finley and Pleket (1976) write, "It is clear that athletes had to meet certain criteria in order to participate. A participant had to be male, had to be born of Greek parents, could have no criminal record, and had to be officially registered as a citizen of his native city-state. This ruled out the participation of slaves."

The available data suggests that instead of having a team organize, finance and manage the whole event, only one male had been in charge to perform the affairs of the umpire and referee. This man had also been responsible for the finances of the event. Douskou (1982) asserts, "Until the 584 BC Games, one hellanodike (official and referee) was in charge of organizing and refereeing the Games. This individual was usually very wealthy and influential. It seems hard to believe that one person could have handled all the administrative aspects of the Games, but we simply lack plausible data to the contrary. The cost of financing the Games of 676 BC most likely was borne by the local hellanodike. There is no evidence to suggest that the spectators of the ancient Games were ever charged an admissions fee."

Very little information is available about the spectators of the game. The data available suggests that the Greeks had been very enthusiastic about the Olympics and used to consistently bet on the games. Finley and Pleket (1976) write, "Most of the spectators drawn to the Games of 676 BC most likely came from the immediate communities throughout the Peloponnese. We have very little information regarding the number of spectators present at any of the ancient Games. Many historians believe that the Greeks were enthusiastic bettors and that betting among spectators was quite common at such festivals as the ancient Olympics."

Athletes, Officials, and Spectators in Modern Sports

In most cases, the coaching and training facilities for modern athletes are extremely strict the same can be articulated for the contests between teams representing the not only their countries, at the international level, but also local college and state teams. Similarly, coaching these athletes can be both an honorary service, as well as, a highly paid service. Properly trained grounds men exist to take due care of the sporting and training facilities (Funk Gary 1991).

The selection of players does not depend on his/her economic well-being but on the hard work and exceptional talent one possesses. In some sporting organizations selection practice is significantly modified by placing the selection of the teams in the hands of a "selection committee." This division of responsibility gives the impression to work extremely well almost on all the places it has been tried. There is wide-spread system dedicated to focusing and improving on the technique of the concerned sport, for the growth and development of a particular team is anticipated to endure by enhancing their playing techniques (Funk Gary 1991).

The extremely complicated task of implementing the regulations before-during-after a particular sporting event falls to a competent organization being run be professional workforce. In most cases, the primary function for these organizations is that they functions as not only the police officer but also the advocate and promoter of the concerned sports (Funk Gary 1991).

It primary function in to keep the venture moral and principled by consistently modifying the guide of individual players as well as the coaches and, simultaneously, play an essential role in making millions and millions of dollars for its shareholders, first and foremost, by selling television broadcast rights (Funk Gary 1991).

Fans and spectators are the lifeblood of any sport being played today. They form a vital element for commercial accomplishment. However, some fans take their loyalty and attachment to their games too far, tarnishing weddings and careers and crossing the line into disorder and destruction (Funk Gary 1991).

The Victors and Rewards in Ancient Greece

The prices for the ancient Greeks had not been all that eye-catching. Here it is important to note that the victors were treated as gods and heroes. This in itself was considered an award by the athletes. However, those who failed brought upon themselves extreme disgrace. As Finley and Pleket (1976) write, "The prize at Olympia became the crown of the wild olive in 752 BC. The olive branches were cut from a sacred tree in Olympia and were presented as prizes to the victor. In addition to receiving the olive wreath, the victor also had ribbons of red wool tied around his head, feet, and hands. There were no second- or third-place awards. The ancient Greeks worshipped success and victory alone brought glory and prestige to the winner. Participation for its own sake was no virtue, and defeat brought undying shame to the athletes."

However, some researchers have asserted that no rewards had been given to the victors of the Olympics. Young (1984) writes, "There is no conclusive evidence of additional rewards granted to Olympic victors by the organizers or by their city-states during the period of time." On the other hand, other researchers assert and give evidence that high amounts of money had been given to those who won the event. "One of the things we'll hear argued about the modern Olympic Games is the question of amateurism (and professionalism) of athletes. This was not a concern of the Greeks since ancient athletes regularly received prizes worth substantial amounts of money. In fact, the word athlete is an ancient Greek word that means 'one who competes for a prize' and was related to two other Greek words, athlos meaning 'contest' and athlon meaning 'prize.' Material awards were routinely given as prizes (more info) at most of the athletic festival sites all over the Greek world. During the 8th, 7th, and 6th centuries BC, dozens of athletic events were established as parts of religious festivals honoring heroes, gods, or even victorious battles. Athletes who won at any of these Pan-Hellenic games could be assured of great wealth when they returned home. According to the Roman author Plutarch, an Olympic victor who was a citizen of Athens could expect to receive in the year 600 BC a cash award of 500 drachmai, a literal fortune. An Isthmian victor would receive 100 drachmai. From an Athenian inscription of the 5th century BC, we learn that Athenian Olympic victors received a free meal in the City Hall every day for the rest of their lives, a kind of early pension plan. Later, in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, pensions for athletes became more formalized and could actually be bought and sold.

This evidence suggests that there were no amateur athletes in ancient Greece, but there were no professional athletes either, for there was no distinction between the two categories, all were simply athletes. The concept of "amateur athletics," developed in the 19th century AD, would have been very foreign to the ancient Greeks since the winning of a valuable or prestigious prize was an important part of being an athlete. (Taken from:"

The Victors and Rewards in Modern Sports

Highly famous players and sports celebrates are a competitive test for corporations, sponsoring sporting events to gain exposure, and associations, managing the event. This is because they create status, success, along with millions of dollars for not only their sponsors but also their associations. The restrictions of lawful and moral behavior are hard for numerous people concerned in the recruiting procedures (Byers Walter, with Charles Hammer 1995).

As major sporting associations and sponsors pick up the pace…

Cite This Term Paper:

"Ancient Greek Olympics And Their" (2005, November 01) Retrieved January 16, 2017, from

"Ancient Greek Olympics And Their" 01 November 2005. Web.16 January. 2017. <>

"Ancient Greek Olympics And Their", 01 November 2005, Accessed.16 January. 2017,