CAIRO – 8 June 2021: It is known that the ancient Olympic Games were a series of sports competitions conducted by representatives of the cities of ancient Greece, and held in honor of the god Zeus.
Despite a few differences, past Olympic events were surprisingly similar to the modern Olympics.
Awards were not presented during the Olympics - So what happened?
For the Greeks, the word "athlete" meant "one who competes for a prize" and no monetary prizes were given to the competitors at Olympia, but fame and fortune were waiting for ancient Olympic champions when they returned home.
Different states awarded cash prizes to Olympic winners; some would shower their champions with massive amounts of money and other rewards like tax breaks, front row seats in the theaters and free meals for life in the City Hall, according to ancient-origins.
The Olympic Games were not without cheating and bribery
Although the ancient sportsmen stood before the statue of Zeus and swore to play with the utmost honor, some sportsmen were willing to provoke divine wrath in order to claim victory.
Athletes who broke the rules faced severe punishment and public flogging. Competitors and judges who were convicted of bribery paid hefty fines, some of which were used to fund the bronze statues of Zeus erected near the entrance to Olympia Stadium. Over the years, fines have been paid for building 16 statues.
Politics interfered in matches
With competitors from hundreds of independent nations converging, some competing on battlefields as well as stadiums, politics intervened in the ancient sports festival.
During the Peloponnesian War in 424 BC, Spartans were prohibited from competing or attending the games, while the Holy Truce traditionally halted all hostilities during the ancient Olympic Games.
The ancient Olympic Games were performed within the framework of commercial activity
The billions of dollars the IOC receives from corporate sponsors and TV broadcasters have taken the event to a new level; however, trading in the Olympic Games is not an invention of the modern age.
In the ancient games, merchants ran food and drink concessions and sold souvenirs, and artists, sculptors, and poets promoted their works.
The ancient Olympians trained themselves
As is the case with many Olympic athletes today, competitors in the ancient games had an extensive support network that helped them prepare and train. Greek states invested in sports facilities and hired coaches who helped athletes with medicine, nutrition, and physiotherapy.
The Olympic champions’ coaches made huge names for themselves and have written popular training manuals with tips on exercise and diet