At the modern Olympic Games, the first, second and third place athletes are rewarded with gold, silver and bronze medals. At the Ancient Greek Games, there was only ONE winner. The winner's prize was an olive branch wreath or crown which was placed on the winner's head.
The ancient Olympics combined sporting events with a religious festival to honor the Greek god, Zeus. Zeus was the king of the gods of Mount Olympus.
The Ancient Greeks thought that the gods chose the winning athletes. They believed that the gods had a messenger named Nike. She would fly down to the athletes and inspire them to win.
Only Greek-born men could compete in the games. Women were not even allowed to watch the events.
The winning athlete brought glory to all the people of his home town. When he returned from the Games, he was given a hero’s welcome. Poets would write verses telling of his great win. Sometimes a statue would be built or his picture would be put on coins. People throughout the Greek world would know and remember him for a long time.
Source: worksheetsplus.com/Reading/4thReadingSportsIdols.html Ancient Greek Sports Idols
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