What Sports Did Ancient Greece Do?

In ancient Greece, sports and athletic competitions were a significant part of their culture. The Greeks believed that physical fitness was essential for both the body and the mind, and so they held various sporting events to honor their gods and showcase their athletic abilities.

The Olympic Games

The most famous of all sporting events in ancient Greece was the Olympic Games. Held every four years in Olympia, the games were dedicated to Zeus, the king of the gods. The first recorded Olympics took place in 776 BC and consisted of only one event- a foot race called the stadion.

Over time, more events were added to the Olympics, including wrestling, boxing, long jump, discus throw, and javelin throw. Athletes from all over Greece competed in the games, which lasted for several days. Winners would receive an olive wreath as a prize.

Other Sporting Events

While the Olympics were undoubtedly the most popular sporting event in ancient Greece, they were not alone. Greeks also held other athletic competitions throughout the year.

One such event was called the Pythian Games and took place every four years near Delphi. These games honored Apollo and included events such as chariot racing and a musical competition.

Another event was called the Nemean Games and was held every two years near Nemea. These games honored Zeus and included events such as foot races and wrestling matches.

Athletic Training

To participate in these sporting events, athletes had to undergo rigorous training regimes that often started at a young age. Training included exercises like running, jumping, throwing heavy objects like rocks or weights, and even dancing.

Athletes also had to follow strict diets to maintain peak physical condition during training periods leading up to these competitions.

The Legacy of Ancient Greek Sports

The Greeks’ passion for sports has continued to influence modern-day athletics across the globe. The Olympic Games, in particular, have become a global event that brings together athletes from all over the world.

The Greeks’ emphasis on physical fitness and athleticism has also led to the creation of modern-day sports like marathon running and wrestling.


Overall, ancient Greece had a rich tradition of sports and athletic competitions that played a significant role in their culture. From the Olympic Games to other sporting events, the Greeks’ passion for physical fitness has left an indelible mark on history that continues to influence sports today.