Today we visited Olympia, Greece, the site of the first Olympic Games. We woke up early to run before getting on the bus for the 2 hour drive to the ancient city. Although much of the complex lays in ruins certain parts have been restored, the stadium being one of them. Running events in the ancient games consisted of short straight-line sprints (160ft-190ft) from one end of the stadium to the other. The whole team (boys & girls) “raced.” Tom and Erin were the winners and were given laurel wreaths! After the race we took a team picture at the starting line (see above). After finishing our tour of the archaelogical site we strolled around town and visited the museum before heading to a local hotel for lunch. We spent the afternoon there relaxing poolside! We’ve have been constantly on the go so it was great to have some down time. We ended the day with a nice dinner back at our hotel in Patras.
Emilios, our tour guide, is so knowledgeable and full of interesting tidbits. Today he shared with us the history of the Olympic torch ceremony and the meaning of various Greek fraternity and sorority symbols along the way. The torch light ceremony was not a part of the ancient Olympic Games. Nor was it a part of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. In fact it was started by Hitler for the 1936 games. For that reason, Greeks look down upon the tradition and are personally offended by it. My sorority at Princeton, Pi Beta Phi is abbreviated to Pi Phi. This I found out today is the same abbreviation used on the outside of boxes used to hold firefighting equipment. We got a kick out of that!! How random.