Olympia sports athletes preparation
At dawn the gates of the participated cities
were thrown open to allow the exit of the colorfully arrayed Embassy and the
athletes. Citizens, remaining at home, followed the procession down dusty roads
for several miles and tossed garlands of flowers at the proudly erect athletes
and the hopeful members of the Embassy.
Days later the travelers arrived at the city of Elis, twenty-four miles north of
Olympia. Athletes and their trainers were officially presented to the Olympic
officials waiting at Elis. With a formal farewell, the Embassy proceeded to
By Olympic rules, athletes had to be at Elis for a month or six weeks before the
Games started. There the competitors became acclimated to the region; spent
grueling days practicing with their own stern trainers and with the trainers
assigned by the Olympic Council to be sure that the athletes were at the peak of
performance. Officials present made certain that "the deeds they are about to
perform are in harmony with the highest moral and artistic level expected of
champions." And each athlete was a champion, the best of the city he
Close to the banks of the Kladeos River, in the Palaestra and the Gymnasium
athletes were privileged to exercise and take final training for the Games.
Today one can wander in and out of the ruins of those buildings; and can sit
where athletes disrobed oiled and washed themselves; and walk where they
It takes little imagination to invoke the
feeling of the Greek athletes as they waited for participation in the events.