Ancient Olympic Fun Fact 30

I saw my cousin this weekend, the one who’s going to the 2012 London Games. Looks like the events that he and his wife are attending are men’s soccer and volleyball. I didn’t realize this, but tickets for the Olympics are done by lottery. You put in a request for twelve events, and then you get what you get. And apparently, the lottery can choose to completely deny you tickets as well.

So, Cousin N, congrats on being able to witness what most of us can only dream of, and cheer the athletes for the rest of us! Oh, and here’s this week’s fun fact:

An official set of shields was used for the race in armor.

For the race in armor event, participants ran two lengths of the stadium wearing greaves and a helmet and carrying a round shield. Because this was before the time of standardized equipment, officials maintained a set of shields specifically for this race. When not in use, they stayed in the Temple of Zeus.

By the way, this particular event was a noisy affair (think about all that clanging metal), and amusing mishaps, collisions, and shield drops often occurred.

Tune in next week for more about the ancient Olympics!

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