Ancient Olympic Events
In the ancient Olympics there were fewer events than in the modern Olympics and only free men who spoke Greek or of Greek descent were entitled to compete. Athletes, for the most part, participated in the nude.
Running a sprint covering the length of a single stadium is the oldest Olympic event (see photo). An unusual running event, the hoplitodromos, was run by athletes in bronze armor. It was an event held for the first time in the 65th Olympiad (520 BC).
In the ancient Games, the discus used by athletes in discus throwing (see photo) was made either of stone or metal and weighed up to thirteen pounds. Wooden javelins were used in the javelin throw event. Wrestling contestants could compete either in orthopali, upright wrestling (see photo) or kylisi pali, wrestling on the ground.
Boxing became an Olympic event during the XXIII Olympiad (668 BC). Pugilists wrapped leather strips around their hands (see photo). They could aim only at their opponent’s head. The pancration was a combination of wrestling and boxing and it was introduced at the XXXIII Olympiad, in 648 BC.
In all the events, it was ideal to have an even number of participants. However, there was a strange regulation called ephedreia. If the number of participants was not even, the athlete left over in the draw would compete directly in the final to fight with the exhausted individual who had fought his way through the bouts. Now that ancient Olympic regulation is certainly Greek to me!