Month: December 2020

The true meaning of the Olympic spirit

For ancient Greeks, sport meant much more than a way to keep fit. The word in Greek, athlesis (origin of athlete, athletism, pentathlon, etc) derived from the word athlos (άθλος) meaning the achievement of a very challenging goal. The labours of Hercules for example in Greek are called ‘athla’, and it is no coincidence that for ancient athletes, Hercules was their hero representing the man who kept exceeding his own personal limits of physical and spiritual strength. For that reason, statues of Hercules decorated the gymnasia in Ancient Greece as all athletes aspired to be like him. Interestingly, the word gymnasium derives from ‘gymnos’ (γυμνός) which in Greek means naked and so one can say that a gymnasium is the place of the naked. Actually, most of the Greek statues which are notoriously naked represent precisely those athletes who trained without clothes. Read more