As the world prepares to witness the opening ceremony of Rio Olympics, 2016 on Saturday, here is a list of weird practices that were carried out in ancient Greece during the earliest version of the Olympic games. The first recorded Olympics were held in 776 B.C. at Olympia in Western Peloponnese. Though there are various myths and each one of them has its own attributes, the most accepted version is that the Olympic games developed from the practice of holding funeral games to honour warriors and local heroes. They continued without interruption once every four years for almost 1,200 years and the first modern Olympics were held at Athens, Greece in 1896.
Full armored race- In a practice derived from combat tactics, 25 soldiers ran in full-plate armour along a length of the 210-yard-long (192-meter-long) stadium at Olympia wearing bronze greaves and helmets and lugging shields that may have weighed 30 pounds. In an earlier version of javelin, derived from early fishing techniques, contestants hurled javelins at a shield fixed to a pole while galloping on horseback.
Animal sacrifices were carried out to appease the gods. Oxen dressed handsomely were sacrificed to appease Zeus and in one event documented on ancient paintings it is said that during the second century A.D., the pile of accumulated ash from centuries of sacrifices stood 23 feet (seven meters) tall. It is also said that the patterns of the carcasses were studied to determine the winners.
Doping or cheating is not a gift of modern era and drugs as even then wrestlers applied olive oil on their bodies to have an additional advantage. Bribing judges and trying to get past by using ‘herbs’ was a practice for which the participants were publicly flogged.
Chariot races was a standard norm and was a very dangerous sport as many people died when a chariot laden by four horses took swift turns at narrow turnings of the stadium. Wealthy people bought them and contested chariot racers while betting on them.