What Other Olympics Were Held in Ancient Times?

The Olympic Games that we know of today are a modern-day phenomenon. However, did you know that the concept of athletic competitions dates back to ancient times?

In fact, there were several other Olympics that were held in ancient times. Let’s dive into the history of these events and discover what made them so special.

What Were the Other Olympics Held in Ancient Times?

The ancient Greeks were known for their love of sports and physical fitness. The Olympic Games, which began in Olympia, Greece in 776 BC, were held every four years to honor the god Zeus. However, there were other athletic competitions that took place throughout Greece and its colonies.

The Pythian Games

One of the most important athletic competitions after the Olympics was the Pythian Games. These games were held every four years at the sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. The games included various sporting events such as running, wrestling, boxing, and chariot racing.

The Nemean Games

Another popular event was the Nemean Games. These games took place at Nemea, a religious sanctuary dedicated to Zeus. The competitions included running races, wrestling matches, and chariot races.

The Isthmian Games

The Isthmian Games were held every two years at Isthmia near Corinth. These games included a variety of sporting events such as foot races, wrestling matches, and horse racing.

What Made These Competitions Special?

These athletic competitions were more than just a showcase of physical prowess; they also had cultural significance. Winning an event at one of these games was considered a great honor and brought glory to one’s city or state.

Moreover, these events provided an opportunity for people from different parts of Greece to come together and celebrate their shared love for sports. The games also served as a platform for political and social discussions, as well as for the exchange of ideas.


The ancient Greeks were pioneers in the world of sports and athletics. The Olympic Games may have been the most famous athletic competition, but they were not the only one.

The Pythian Games, Nemean Games, and Isthmian Games were also important events that showcased the physical and cultural prowess of ancient Greece. These competitions brought people together and left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire us today.