Ancient vs. Modern Olympics Amy Ard
Modern Olympics The Modern Olympic flag of five linked rings, each with a primary color used in the flags of the nations competing in the games, was introduced in 1908. Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals are awarded to winners of each event. The idea of the Olympic torch or Olympic Flame was first inaugurated in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. There was no torch relay in the ancient Olympic Games. The selection of a city to host each Olympics, winter or summer, is made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Gymnastics (Xinhua) Shawn Johnson on the beam Johnson, 16-year-old gymnast, did not miss her last chance of Olympic gold. She scored 16.225 after a flawless routine.
Gymnastics (Photo credit: Xinhua) Shawn Johnson (C), Nastia Liukin (L), and Cheng Fei Medal Ceremony afteer balancebeam trials.
Swimming Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times Michael Phelps dives into the water to begin the men's 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay for the U.S., which won the event and gave Phelps his fifth gold medal of the Beijing Games.
Swimming (Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty Images) American Michael Phelps achieved what many thought impossible on the ninth and final day of Swimming on Sunday at the National Aquatics Center landing his eighth gold medal in the Men's 4 x 100m Medley Relay. (L-R)Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Michael Phelps and Jason Lezak
Soccer Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times Benny Feilhaber, center, and Brian McBride of the U.S. battle for the ball with Nigeria's Chibuzor Okonkwo during asoccer match.
Diving Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times Kai Qin, foreground, and Feng Wang hold their form as they dive during the Men's 3 meter Synchronized Springboard final at Beijing's National Aquatic Center
Basketball MN Chan / Getty Images Chris Paul, 6-0, GuardThe runner-up in the NBA MVP race, the New Orleans Hornet floor leader is a do-everything guard who averaged 24.1 points and 11.3 assists last season
Fencing Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times Mariel Zagunis, left, gets her foot stepped on by fellow American Sada Jacobson but manages to get a point in the women's individual sabre competition. Zagunis won the gold medal and Jacobson the silver Saturday.
Volley Ball Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times Todd Rogers, left, and Phil Dalhausser collide while returning a serve against Switzerland
Badminton Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times SatokoSuetsuna of Japan lines up a shot in a badminton match against China. Suetsuna and Miyuki Maeda won the match, defeating the defending Olympic doubles champions, Wei Yang and Jiewen Zhang.
Weightlifting (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times) Weightlifter Alexandra Escobar of Ecuador falls while attempting a lift in the finals of the women's 58kg group. Escobar finished fifth in the finals.
Wrestling (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times) Eusebiu Iancu Diaconu of Romania, in blue, flips China's Jiang Sheng during a match in the 60kg men's Greco-Roman wrestling competition
Baseball Kathy Willens / Associated Press U.S. catcher Lou Marson prepares to tag out Taiwan's Chen Chin-Feng at home plate after a strong throw from right fielder Nate Schierholtz to end the sixht inning Tuesday.
Table Tennis (Ping Pong) Scott Strazzante / Chicago Tribune USA's Chen Wang, top, returns a serve by Netherland's Li Jiao. Wang wins this game
Track and Field (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times) Kerron Clement of the U.S. easily wins the men's 44-meter hurdles in Round 1 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Kayaking ( Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) Slovakia kayaker Elena Kaliska speeds down Beijing's slalom course on her way to an Olympic
Ancient Olympics • The ancient Olympic Games was a part of a major religious festival honoring Zeus, the chief Greek god, was the biggest event in their world. • Women were not allowed to compete • A winner received a crown made from olive leaves, and was entitled to have a statue of himself set up at Olympia. Olympia home to all the Ancient Olympics. Prizes awarded were wreaths of olives.
Boxing Ancient boxing had fewer rules than the modern sport. Boxers fought without rounds until one man was knocked out, or admitted he had been beaten. Unlike the modern sport, there was no rule against hitting an opponent when he was down. Photograph by Maria Daniels, courtesy of the University Museums, University of Mississippi
Chariot race There were both 2-horse chariot and 4-horse chariot races, with separate races for chariots drawn by foals. Another race was between carts drawn by a team of 2 mules. The course was 12 laps around the stadium track (9 miles). Photograph by Maria Daniels, courtesy of the Tampa Museum of Art
Pankration This event was a grueling combination of boxing and wrestling. Punches were allowed, although the fighters did not wrap their hands with the boxing himantes. Rules outlawed only biting and gouging an opponent's eyes, nose, or mouth with fingernails. Attacks such as kicking an opponent in the belly, which are against the rules in modern sports, were perfectly legal. Photograph by Maria Daniels, courtesy of the Toledo Museum of Art
Pentathlon Javelin This was a 5-event combination of discus, javelin, jumping, running and wrestling. Discus Jump The javelin was a man-high length of wood, with either a sharpened end or an attached metal point. It had a thong for a hurler's fingers attached to its center of gravity, which increased the precision and distance of a javelin's flight. Athletes used lead or stone jump weights (halteres) shaped like telephone receivers to increase the length of their jump. The halteres were held in front of the athlete during his ascent, and forcibly thrust behind his back and dropped during his descent to help propel his body further. The ancient Greeks considered the rhythm and precision of an athlete throwing the discus as important as his strength. The discus was made of stone, iron, bronze, or lead, and was shaped like a flying saucer. Sizes varied, since the boys' division was not expected to throw the same weight as the mens'.
Wrestling Part of the Pentathlon. Trainer watching wrestlers Photograph by Maria Daniels, courtesy of The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Running There were 4 types of races at Olympia. The stadion was the oldest event of the Games. Runners sprinted for 1 stade (192 m.), or the length of the stadium. The other races were a 2-stade race (384 m.), and a long-distance run which ranged from 7 to 24 stades (1,344 m. to 4,608 m.). And if these races weren't enough, the Greeks had one particularly grueling event which we lack. There was also a 2 to 4-stade (384 m. to 768 m.) race by athletes in armor. This race was especially useful in building the speed and stamina that Greek men needed during their military service. If we remember that the standard hoplite armor (helmet, shield, and greaves)weighed about 50-60 lbs, it is easy to imagine what such an event must have been like.
Websites • http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Olympics/ • http://www.museum.upenn.edu/new/olympics/olympicorigins.shtml • http://www.olympic.org/uk/games/index_uk.asp