The Ancient Olympic Games




Private Collection


London: The British Museum Press


All the events at the ancient Olympic Games were undertaken in the nude, in fact the word ‘gymnasium’ means a place to do things in the nude. Going to the gym for ancient Greek men was a way of balancing academic pursuits with exercise and a way to ‘keep fit’ for war. The discus event, as it still does today, required the competitor to throw a flat, round disc as far as possible. Ancient Greek discuses could be made of bronze, marble or lead and usually weighed around 2.5 kilograms (the modern-day minimum discus weight is 2 kilograms). All the discus competitors at Olympia used one of three ‘official’ discuses in an attempt to maintain fairness.


Judith Swaddling Cab 13.jpg


Judith Swaddling, “The Ancient Olympic Games,” | OUR Heritage, accessed February 21, 2024,