What Was the Discus Used for in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, the discus was a prominent sporting equipment that played a significant role in various athletic competitions. The discus, also known as “diskos” in Greek, was a heavy circular object made of stone, bronze, or iron. It was used in the Olympic Games and other events to test the strength and skill of athletes.

History of the Discus

The origins of the discus can be traced back to ancient times, where it was initially used as a weapon during warfare. The ancient Greeks repurposed this tool into a sporting implement to entertain and showcase physical prowess.

Athletic Significance:

The discus throw was one of the most prestigious events in Ancient Greek athletics. It required immense strength, technique, and precision to excel in this sport. Athletes would compete against each other by hurling the discus as far as possible.

Rules and Techniques

1. Weight and Dimensions:

The weight and dimensions of the discus varied depending on the competition. In general, it weighed between 1-4 kilograms for men and 0.75-1 kilogram for women.

2. Throwing Technique:

The throwing technique involved several steps:

  • Stance: The athlete would stand at one end of the throwing area with their back facing the landing sector.
  • Wind-up: They would then swing their arm backward while rotating their body to build momentum.
  • Delivery: As they reached the maximum rotation point, they would release the discus using their wrist and fingers while maintaining balance.

Athletes and Legends

1. Myron:

Myron, a renowned sculptor from Ancient Greece, created a famous statue called “Discobolus” or “Discus Thrower.” This iconic sculpture depicts an athlete in the act of throwing a discus, capturing the essence and beauty of the sport. Milo of Croton:

Milo of Croton, an ancient Greek wrestler, was also known for his exceptional discus throwing skills. He won multiple Olympic titles in both wrestling and discus throw, showcasing his versatility as an athlete.


The discus throw remains an integral part of modern-day athletics, particularly in track and field events. It symbolizes strength, precision, and determination. The techniques developed by ancient Greek athletes continue to influence and inspire present-day athletes around the world.

In conclusion, the discus was a vital component of Ancient Greek athletic competitions. Its historical significance and athletic prowess make it an enduring symbol of physical excellence. The use of the discus as a sporting implement in Ancient Greece laid the foundation for its continued prominence in modern sports.