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Cases without a victor

Victorious Athletes

Occasions of a tie were however very rare, and then the victory was designated as "holy" since in such a case, that is to say when the contest terminated "without a verdict", the crown was not given to any of the contestants, but was placed in the temple and was given to the god. The pedestal of a statue has been preserved with the following inscription: "To Tiberius Claudius Rufus who contested in a tie since until night, until the time when the stars came out in the sky, he withstood and did not give in... he was permitted to erect his statue with the inscription which would show that he not only contested but achieved the holy victory which for a century had not been awarded to any one" Kleanthis Palaiologos

The Olympic Fire and the modern Games

Adeimantus added: Has no one told you of the torch-race on horseback in honour of the goddess which will take place in the evening?
With horses! I replied: That is a novelty. Will horsemen carry torches and pass them one to another during the race?
Yes, said Polemarchus, and not only so, but a festival will be celebrated at night, which you certainly ought to see.

Plato, The Republic (part of the Bendideia festival)

A fire burned on the altar of Hestia, Zeus and Hera in Olympia. In modern Olympics flame is ignited at the site of the temple of Hera. The Olympic torch relay is an idea of the German Carl Diem in 1936 when the Games where held in Berlin, Germany.


1936 The first Olympic Fire using sun light for ignition and a ceremony in the Parthenon, Acropolis. The Nazi Regime used 1936 the Olympics to show the German racial superiority but the black American Jesse Owens showed that this is not true. The Germans introduced playing of the national anthem of the winner with the medal ceremony. They also supported the archaeological excavations in Olympia financially.

The modern Olympic Games were held 1896 in Athens (only men), 1900 in Paris France (the first time with 17 women as athletes), 1904 in St. Louis USA and 1906 only after 2 years again in Athens (not IOC official), then in 1908 in London and from then held every 4 years except 1916, 1940 and 1944 canceled due to war. In 2004 Athens was the Olympics City for the 3rd time (2 times official). The 2004 Olympic medals present on one side the statue of Nike Paionios with ancient Olympia in the backdrop, while the other side features the eternal flame framed by the first verse of the eighth Olympic Hymn by Pindar* along with the logo of the Athens Games.

2004 Olympics Medal, Nike Paionios and Pindar's Hymn

O mother of gold-crowned contests, Olympia, queen of truth;
where men that are diviners observing burnt-offerings make trial of Zeus the
wielder of white lightnings, whether he hath any word concerning
men who seek in their hearts to attain unto great prowess and a
breathing-space from toil; for it is given in answer to the reverent
prayers of men--do thou, O tree-clad precinct of Pisa by Alpheos,
receive this triumph and the carrying of the crown.


The Olympic Medals from 1896 to 2004

Some say that the 1906 Games helped the Olympics to survive because of a bad organization of the 1900 and 1904 Games (The 1904 Games were a side show of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition when actually Chicago was selected for the Games)


1912 George Patton, the later famous general in World War II finishes 5th in the Pentathlon in Stockholm
1924 Johnny Weissmuller wins 3 gold and 1 bronze. Later he plays Tarzan in various films.
1968 Olympics in Mexico, protest of American Black Athletes for racial problems
1972 Olympics in Munich Germany, 11 Israeli Athletes were killed by Arabs.
1980 Games in Moscow boycotted by USA and others due to Afghanistan war.
1984 Los Angeles, Soviets and others boycott due to USA involvement in Nicaragua.
2004 Athens
2008 Games in Beijing China.


Greek Athletes: Medal Winners from 1896 to 2000

Will the modern Games be so successful like in ancient Greece? We will find out this in 1000 years (or earlier if the answer is negative).

And what about soccer, hockey, diving, gymnastic and other events?

Ideals and Commercialism

Scholars in the last centuries tried to idealize the ancient Olympic Games. Today there is a criticism of the commercialization of the modern Games. But were the ancient Games really different? Maybe there was a Olympic truce but many of the events actually were “military” games such as the Hoplitodromos, wrestling and javelin and also the racing events. The Games attracted various philosophers and others who used this opportunity to talk about their ideas to the public and there was also a opportunity for merchants to sell their products. The number of statues of those who used illegal methods to win and as punishment a statue with their name was setup was not small. There was not a second or third place but only a winner, and some would even die than to loose or others did not even participate when they knew that their opponent was too strong and sometimes for this reason there was a winner without any competition. If you know that you will not earn only a olive wreath but fame and the consequences of it then it is impossible to avoid that illegal methods are used to win.


58th Olympiad, Thales of Miletus according to Diogenes Laertios died in the stadium looking some athletic game. When the visitors left they found that Thales remained there looking as sleeping. He was actually dead. The heat and the probably difficult conditions was too much for the old Thales.

Pierre de Coubertin was against the participation of women in the modern Olympic Games but his opinion was not shared by others.

Ancient Olympics Stamps

More Images

The Story of the Marathon run: What is the reason that Philippides, the Marathon Man, died?
Athletics in Ancient Greece from the Metropolitan Museum

Greek Athletes Today

Panathenaic Games

Panathenaic Stadium


The Doryphoros or the idealized sculpture (Canon) , The Discobolos , The seated boxer

The Apoxyomenos ,

Apollo in Olympia , The Colossal Statue of Zeus in Olympia

The Charioteers of Delphi and Motya , The Horse and Jockey of Artemision

Parts: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 -

Index Greek Life

Ancient Greece

Science, Technology , Medicine , Warfare, , Biographies , Life , Cities/Places/Maps , Arts , Literature , Philosophy ,Olympics, Mythology , History , Images

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Science, Technology, Arts, , Warfare , Literature, Biographies, Icons, History

Modern Greece

Cities, Islands, Regions, Fauna/Flora ,Biographies , History , Warfare, Science/Technology, Literature, Music , Arts , Film/Actors , Sport , Fashion



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