The ancient Olympics were an event where participants from all over Greece and as far as the Mediterranean participated. It started in 776 BC. Married women and slaves were banned from participating and watching the Olympics in ancient Greece. Only free young males had the right to be a part of the Olympic games, despite their social status. Many famous personalities participated and supported the games. This was a very prestigious event and the winner was awarded with an Olive Wreath, also known as Kotinos and big celebrations in their home place. They were awarded by large sum of money and poets used to write poems to signify their talents.
The king of Macedonia and son of Amyndas, Alexander I; the general from Megara, Orsippos; philosopher Plato; philosopher Socrates; philosopher Pythagoras; philosopher Aristotle; philosopher Democritus; the member of the royal family from Rhodes, Diagoras; the father of medicine, Hippocrates; shepherd Polymnistor, are some of the well-known athletes of ancient Greece.
Goddess of fertility and Priestess of Demeter were honored during the games and was given a seating position just next to the stadium altar. Only married women were not allowed to be spectators or participants at the Olympic games. But unwed women were allowed to watch the events. Whoever dared to break the rules was thrown from the top of the cliff.
Women were finally given a chance to participate in the Herean Games, which was conducted to honor the wife of Zeus, Hera. It started with foot races initially. Hippodameia made an administrators’ committee consisting of sixteen women. The sixteen females were considered to be peacemakers from Elis and Pisa.
Among the well-known athletes, Milon was a very versatile athlete. He was the pupil of philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras. He was from Kroton, South Italy. He had won six Wreaths in Olympic Wrestling, which still remains one of a kind victory till this date. His first victory was in the youth wrestling event and the rest five were in the men-wrestling event. He won ten championships in the Isthmian games, nine championships in the Nemean games and seven championships in the Pythain games. He even won in many of the other events.
Also born in Kroton, South Italy, Astylos had won six victory Olive Wreaths in a total of three Olympic games. He was very good at the Stade race and Diaulos race. He represented Kroton in the first Olympic and he won in that, for which the residents of Kroton honored him. After that, he took part in two of the Olympics as a citizen of Syracuse. The Krotons disgraced him by tearing down his statue and replacing his house with a prison.
Leonidas won four times consecutively at the Olympiads. He was from Phodes and was the most well known runner. He was a champion in Stade race, Armour race and Dialous race. In all, he won twelve Olympics Wreaths. He was a great hero for the people.
The first woman known to be a winner at the Olympics was Kyniska of Sparta. She was the daughter of King Archidamos. In the 96th and the 97th Olympic games, she also won the horse chariot race.
Melankomas was from Karia and was a winner in the Olympic boxing championship. He was a very hard working athlete. He used to do vigorous training by fighting for two days continuously with out lowering his hands. He was known for his swift moves and he used to win without even getting a single blow from his opponent.