Ancient Olympic Fun Fact 17

2012 is significant in that it is a presidential election year, a leap year, and a summer Olympic year! The modern Olympics, of course, were inspired by the ancient Greek Olympics, a subject I’ve been researching for my work in progress. So in these months leading up to the 2012 London Games, I’ll be posting weekly tidbits about the original athletic festival that started it all.

Here’s this week’s fun fact:

The torch relay was not part of the original Olympics

As iconic as the Olympic torch is, there was no equivalent in the ancient athletic festival. Relay races weren’t even part of the events, and the closest thing the Greeks had to an Olympic flame was the sacred fire of Hestia, which was used to light all the other altars at Olympia.

Olympic Torchholders. The owners of our hotel in Olympia had a couple of medalists in their family.

Tune in next week for more about the ancient Olympics!


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