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Ancient Olympics screencast

Updated Tuesday 17th April 2012

The Open University has released a free-to-use learning resource exploring the links between the ancient and modern Olympic Games. Find out more with this screencast




Have you ever wondered how the ancient Olympics would compare to today’s modern games?  Ancient Olympics bridging past and present explores why now as we prepare for London’s 2012 Olympics, we still look back at the classical world for meaning and inspiration.  This free online course from the Open University reveals what people have said in the past about the Olympics.  Find out who the original sporting stars were through interactive maps and timelines, and see how the games evolved. Go behind the scenes and compare the way athletes trained then to the methods in use today.  See how athletes dressed and even washed differently.  Here is Delengis in action.  Does your loofah sound like that?  Listen to a traditional ode, written to honour the victors of the Ancient Olympics. 

[Recording plays in Greek]

Voiceover (over animation of games)

Imagine our modern boxers competing without gloves, our long jumpers using weights in an event called the hammer, and consider how today’s runners would fare if they had to carry shields. 

Back in the modern world, former Olympian Sir Roger Bannister compares today’s ethics in sports with ancient Olympic values.

Sir Roger Bannister

The idea of the Olympic games is really very powerful in sport today.


And finally, test your knowledge in our online quiz.  To start your learning journey from the ancient Olympics to London 2012, visit the Open Learn 2012 website.





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