The Ancient Stadium Of Olympia
The International Institute for Sport History
The Ancient Stadium at OLYMPIA
The IISOH plans to build a large sports complex with a number of indoor and outdoor sports facilities. These sports facilities are designed to support the educational and research missions of the Institute. Most sports will have dedicated facilities that are both historical and functional. One could study the history and origins of a particular sport as well as the evolution and changes over time. Facilities will also be used for modern training and competition with special emphasis on research.
The first major stadium that is planned for the campus is a replica of the ancient stadium at Olympia, Greece. At that site the ancient Olympic Games were celebrated as part of a religious festival in honor of Zeus for almost 1200 years. The stadium was only part of a much larger religious sanctuary. The entire Olympic sanctuary had numerous buildings and a giant temple that housed one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, a huge statue of Zeus. We plan to build a replica of the stadium, the arched entry tunnel and the section for ZANES that led to the stadium entrance. The simple stadium design was a straight runway, a little over 200 meters long. The area surrounding the stadium did not have seats, just a sloped, grass covered area that had room for an estimated 40,000 spectators.
A small part of the entrance tunnel to the stadium still exists today at Olympia. To the left, along a retaining wall was a long section of statuary known as the ZANES. To enter the stadium all the athletes had to walk past these statues, reminders that those who cheat or break the rules will be forever remembered here. It was a warning to the athletes to be fair and honest in the competition or fines would be issued and a statue erected for such infamy. These statues were NOT in honor of greatness, they were reminders of cheaters.
The ancient Olympics had some rules which we might have to adjust for the modern era. The ancient athletes competed without clothing, completely naked. However the IISOH will require modern participants to wear some athletic clothing! The ancient Olympics did not allow women as spectators but that rule will also not exist in the IISOH stadium.
We plan to use this facility for educational purposes, to recreate the ancient Olympic Games every summer - especially for school students, but also for the general public at large. By participating in the ancient Olympic events we can teach the history of sport through participation, much more fun than looking at exhibits hanging on walls or inside glass cases. We want to recreate the ancient Olympic Games every week throughout the summer season to educate the world about the history of sport and the ancient Olympic Games. We expect you to be there, so perhaps you should start training.
The ancient Olympic Games included several events that can take place inside this stadium, such as the stade race, a single run from start to finish. It is this ancient Greek word that gives us the English word STADIUM.
- Stade race - This was a sprint from the starting line to the finish line, the only event at the first Olympic Games.
- The diaulos - a two-stade race - ta sprint down the stadium and then back to the starting line.
- The dolichos - a multi-stade race and almost nothing is known about this distance, other than multiple stades.
- The hoplitodromos - the Hoplite race, a race while wearing some armor and carrying a shield.
- Other events took place outside the stadium such as chariot racing, horse racing, wrestling, boxing and the pankration.
Pennsylvania has 12.5 million citizens in 67 counties.
Within these 67 counties there are 501 school districts.
If we invited ten school districts every week to participate in a
re-creation of the ancient Olympic Games, it would take us 50 weeks!
The IISOH primarily serves this market -- but that is just the beginning.
It is a big world and we eventually will reach out to everyone.
But not at first - we need to focus small - starting right here in Pennsylvania.
The goal of the IISOH is to construct a Library and Museum
on a comprehensive sports complex in central Pennsylvania that is
approximately 600 to 6,000 acres in size and to support this educational, literary and
research Institute with a permanent endowment of $300 million or more.
Your enthusiastic support is welcome!
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The IISOH is a Pennsylvania non-profit, educational, literary and research corporation
under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax deductible.
Federal Tax ID# 41-2041155
The IISOH is organized to operate a library and museum for the History of Sport,
Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Sport in Art and the Olympic Games