Wrestling is considered one of the world’s oldest competitive sports and was introduced into the Olympics in 708 B.C. There were two styles of wrestling at the ancient Olympics, Kato Pale (ground wrestling) and Orthia Pale (standing wrestling). The object of Kato Pale was to overtake your opponent on the ground until he submitted by raising his arm in the air with his index finger extended. In Orthia Pale, the object of the game was to throw your opponent to the ground three times to win a match. Landing on a hip, shoulder, or back were considered a fair fall. Like most of the Olympic events, the athletes wrestled in the nude. Today, wrestlers are clothed and are divided into competitive classes based on weight rather than age.
Yesterday Cuba and Russia won gold in Greco-Roman Wrestling. Continue watching the Rio Olympics this afternoon and tomorrow to see who takes home the remaining gold in the Greco-Roman wrestling event!
Like the modern Olympics, the ancient Olympic Games were composed of many different events. However, the events for the ancient Games were based off skills that would be most useful in a combat setting, such as running or throwing projectiles. In this way, very skilled athletes could also double as skilled soldiers. Here, this athlete, also known as the “slinger,” has his arms outstretched as if he has just thrown an object.
In mid-air to the athlete’s left is the triskelion, a symbol of strength composed of three interlocking human legs bent at the knee. As seen on the current coat of arms of the Isle of Man and flag of Sicily, this symbol sometimes has the head of a Gorgon, the most notable of whom is Medusa, placed on top of the intersection point between the three legs and entwined with ears of corn. Sicily’s association with the triskelion, or the trinacria as it is sometimes called, dates back to ancient times where each of the triskelion’s legs most likely represented the three capes of Sicily, the corn represented the fertility of the land, and the Gorgon head served as a protective entity.
Make sure to watch the Discus Throw in the Men’s Track and Field competition today on NBC!