How Were the Olympics in Ancient Greece?

The Olympics, as we know them today, have come a long way since their inception in Ancient Greece. These games were held in honor of the Greek god Zeus and were a way for athletes to showcase their physical prowess. The ancient Olympic games were quite different from the modern ones, and in this article, we’ll take a closer look at how they were conducted.

History of the Ancient Olympics

The first Olympic games were held in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece. These games were a way for the city-states of Greece to come together and celebrate their shared culture. The ancient Olympics were held every four years and lasted for five days.

Events at the Ancient Olympics

The ancient Olympics had fewer events than the modern games. There were only 18 events, which included running races, long jump, shot put, discus throw, and wrestling. All of these events were designed to test an athlete’s strength, speed, and agility.

Athletes at the Ancient Olympics

Only men could participate in the ancient Olympics. Women weren’t allowed to attend or compete in any of the events. Additionally, only freeborn Greek men could participate – no slaves or foreigners were allowed to compete.

The Olympic Stadium

The Olympic stadium was located in Olympia and was designed to hold up to 45,000 spectators. It had a track made of packed earth that was about 600 feet long and 30 feet wide.

The Olympic Torch

The tradition of lighting an Olympic torch dates back to ancient Greece. In Olympia, a flame would be ignited using a parabolic mirror that would focus the sun’s rays on a torch. The flame was then carried by runners across Greece until it reached the site of that year’s games.


The ancient Olympics may have been vastly different from the modern games, but they were just as important to the people of Ancient Greece. These games were a way to celebrate their shared culture and test the physical abilities of their best athletes. Today, we still honor this tradition by holding the Olympic games every four years, bringing together athletes from around the world to compete and celebrate their shared love of sport.