Ancient Olympic Fun Fact 23

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:

Cheaters were severely punished.

Despite having to swear a solemn oath to the king of gods, cheating did occur at the ancient Olympics. This, of course, was frowned upon, and the organizers took measures to discourage it. Not only did violators face flogging by the Whip-Bearers, but heavy fines could be imposed, especially in cases of bribery.

Fines, by the way, were used to make statues of Zeus. Called Zanes, these statues stood near the entrance to the stadium, a physical reminder to athletes and their trainers of what happened if they broke the rules.

Tune in next week for more about the ancient Olympics!


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