Ancient Olympic Fun Fact 18

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:

Foul = Flogging

No red flags or verbal warnings. If an athlete committed a foul, he faced a group called the Whip-Bearers. Using switches from the lycos bush (a kind of willow), these men publicly flogged violators. Not only did the punishment produce painful welts, it was humiliating. All competitors were free men, but that kind of flogging was usually reserved for slaves.

Tune in next week for more about the ancient Olympics!

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