It is an indisputable fact that the most famous of Greek games is the Olympic Games. But there were many other competitions and sports activities in ancient Greece. The Greeks believed in maintaining a robust and healthy body and this was possible through sports and games.

Discobolos games

Ancient Greek Games

The rich young men spent most of their time practicing these activities and they would compete with each other at big events like the Olympic Games or elsewhere. Winners were praised as heroes and prizes were given accordingly.

The ancient Olympics seem to have begun in the early 700 BC, in honor of Greece Zeus. Only men, necessarily Greek nations could compete in the Games. Women were not allowed to participate or even watch the Games.


Olympic Games

The events in the Olympic Games were running, jumping, throwing a javelin, and throwing a discus. Athletes used lead or stone jump weights called halteres to increase the length of their jump. The javelin was a long wooden stick shape with spearhead, similar height to that of a person. The discus was a circle shaped stone, iron, bronze, or lead. There were different sizes according to age groups.

On the first day of the Games, sacrifices to the Greek gods were performed. On the second day, the foot-race, the main event of the games, took place in the stadium. Four different types of races were held; the station or 1-stage was a 192 m race. It was the length of a stadium.

The 2-stage was a 384 m race and the long-distance run ranged from 1,344 m. to 4,608 m. Athletes were required to wear an armor-like protective covering in the 2-4 stage race. This was necessary for military purposes.


Modern Olympic Games

On other days, wrestling, boxing, and sometimes a combination of the two, were held. In wrestling, the aim was to throw the opponent to the ground three times, on either his hip, back or shoulder.There were both 2-horse chariot and 4-horse chariot races, with separate races for chariots drawn by foals. Boxing had fewer rules but became brutal as years advanced.


The Greeks invented athletic contests and held them in honor of their gods. The Isthmus games were staged every two years at the Isthmus of Corinth. The Pythian Games took place every four years near Delphi.Greeks also played less active games like dice and marbles, and knucklebones, and checkers.