What Is the Long Jump in Ancient Greece?

The long jump, also known as the “broad jump”, was a popular event in ancient Greece. It was a part of the pentathlon, which consisted of five events – discus throw, javelin throw, running, wrestling and long jump. The pentathlon was considered one of the most prestigious events in the ancient Olympic Games.

Origins of the Long Jump

The origins of the long jump can be traced back to ancient Greece where it was known as the “halma” or “halteres”. The halma was a jumping event that involved using weights called halteres to gain momentum and propel oneself forward. The athlete would hold the halteres in their hands and swing them back before jumping forward.

The Technique of Long Jump

The technique used in the long jump has evolved over time. In ancient Greece, athletes were allowed to use weights called halteres to help them gain momentum. They would swing these weights back before jumping forward.

In modern times, athletes use a run-up to build up momentum before jumping. They typically take between 8-12 strides before launching themselves into the air. The athlete must jump from a designated take-off board and land in a sandpit.

Records Set in Ancient Greece

It is difficult to compare records set in ancient Greece with modern-day records due to differences in equipment and techniques used. However, there are some notable records that were set during this time.

One such record was set by Chionis of Sparta who jumped 7 meters and 5 centimeters during the 656 BC Olympic Games. This record stood for over 200 years until it was broken by Phayllos of Croton who jumped 7 meters and 18 centimeters during the 544 BC Olympic Games.

The Significance of Long Jump in Ancient Greece

The long jump was considered a prestigious event in ancient Greece. It required a combination of strength, skill, and agility. The event was also seen as a test of an athlete’s courage, as they were required to jump into the unknown with only their own abilities to rely on.

In addition to its athletic significance, the long jump also had cultural significance in ancient Greece. It was often depicted in art and literature as a symbol of human potential and achievement.


The long jump was an important event in ancient Greece. It was part of the pentathlon and required a combination of strength, skill, and agility.

The use of weights called halteres helped athletes gain momentum before jumping forward. Today, modern athletes use a run-up to build up momentum before jumping. While it’s difficult to compare ancient records with modern-day records, the long jump remains an important event in athletics and continues to inspire athletes around the world.