Sunday, July 25, 2010
Day Four: Olympia...
We left for Olympia after having a cafe and fresh O.J. down by the water. It was a short jaunt to Olympia and we were all itching to get down to the stadium. The other group in our tour is a bunch of high school kids, who all say they are going to be the neo-Olympian champion. Just as the Olympians of antiquity, one student on our trip, Mike, got over heated in the sweltering summer heat of the Mediterranean. The sun was just as much an adversary today as in the past, many Olympic contenders dropped dead due to heat stroke and Mike felt the long arm of the sun tap him on the shoulder today.
The site was amazing. We started our tour in the gymnasium where the athletes prepared for their events. The area was surrounded by a Stoa, a covered open air building, which allowed the athletes to continue practicing in harsh weather, hot or rainy. The athletes would put olive oil on there naked bodies and practice in the sun. After hours of practice they would be one group of dusty Dorians. After practice they would scrape off the sand and dirt with special bronze implements. Ouch!
From there we went the pious route. Most of the Olympia compound was the religious zone. There was a stone wall designating the practice area, workshops, and even a hotel for traveling dignitaries. There were temples to Zeus and Hera within these walls, massive structures that were designed to honor the Gods and to humble man. From the ancient area that is used today to light the Olympic torch which starts our modern games to the excavated dwelling from before ancient Greek civilization that Olympia is built upon, the sixth grade team was in awe of it all. Wilson photographed Matera standing on the pedestal of the Zanes making him look like a cheater (which he is not...or is he?) and Becky under the arch entering the stadium of Olympia.
We entered the stadium. This was powerful and one of those textbook moments. Standing above on the slopes of the stadium you could almost hear the cheering fans of hundreds of ancient Olympic games. Thinking of the pains that were endured, the dreams that were dashed, and glory that was earned was humbling. All and all it was a day none of us will soon forget.
Posted by jwilson at 7:34 AM