Introduction—Olympia: The Origins of the Game (01:55)
Ancient Olympia is the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Archaeologists have uncovered much of the site and new technology allows viewers to better understand Ancient Greece and its athletes. (Credits)
Olympic Games (03:35)
Conflict is prevalent in the ancient world, but a tradition of truce interrupts warring every four years and allows men to compete in games that honor the gods; Olympia is the most prestigious location. The first sporting events date back 3,500 years to Minoan Crete.
Olympia Landscape (04:51)
Mount Kronos and two rivers flank the site of the first Olympic Games; a series of floods eventually covers the area. Throughout history, and continuing today, various archaeologists work to uncover the ruins.
Competition Grounds (03:57)
Athletes train in several locations; judges watch training sessions to determine who will compete in the games. Competitors must prove their citizenship and take the Oath of Olympia. The Olympic Stadium is the most famous sporting site; the first event is an endurance race.
Athletic Imagery (04:27)
Painted pottery depicts sportsmen; the deliberately constructed images require further interpretation. Experimental archaeology helps experts better understand ancient sporting practices.
Artistry and Sport (03:01)
After competing, athletes gather at the baths. Experts disagree on whether Ancient Greek athletes competed in the nude. The Discobolus reveals the Greek ideal of the body.
Throwing and Jumping Competitions (04:29)
Warfare is the origin of the discus competition. Experimental archaeologists recreate discus and javelin throws, and long jumping. Archaeologists work in the gymnasium complex.
Greek Mythology (03:42)
Ancient Greeks tell stories about the origins of Olympia; Pelops and Hercules are popular heroes. Archaeologists discover evidence of people paying homage to the gods and animal sacrifices.
Combat Sports (03:48)
Athletes draw lots to determine their competitor; pugilism is one of the earliest sports. A bronze cast reveals the scars of a competitor. Pankration is the most dangerous sport.
Ancient Worship (05:05)
Athletes and spectators celebrate the gods. The Temple of Hera is one of the earliest built. The Temple of Zeus exemplifies the Doric style; the Louvre houses temple artifacts. Phidias creates the statue of Zeus.
Hippodrome Competitions (06:07)
Chariot races attract the largest crowds; Olympia houses one of the largest race courses in Ancient Greece. The "Charioteer of Delphi" helps experts replicate Greek chariots. Teams lineup in a V formation; athletes gather to hear the judges' verdicts.
Olympic Tradition (03:09)
The Olympic Games are held on a regular basis for nearly 1,000 years; the Olympia venue evolves over the centuries. Roman occupiers continue the gaming tradition with a different sporting spirit; the spread of Christianity marks the end of the games.
Greek Legacy (02:45)
Barbarians pillage Olympia after the decline of the Roman Empire and nature furthers its destruction. Pierre de Coubertin revives the Olympic Games, making it an international competition.
Credits: Olympia: The Origins of the Game (00:32)
Credits: Olympia: The Origins of the Game
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