Courtesy A. BradyDo you have Olympic fever yet? The Beijing Games get underway in just two weeks. And of course, there are bound to be a bunch of new events.
But what I’d like to see is a throwback to one of the old events: chariot races. The idea popped into my head today when reading this article that archaeologists in Greece may have found the ancient hippodrome – fancy term for track – used for chariot races in the original Olympics.
A team of German researchers, using geomagnetic technology to take pictures of structures under the ground, believes it has found the chariot track of Olympia. It was last visible some 1,600 years ago before it was buried in a river of mud. Get the full details here.
The geomagnetic technology has undiscovered an ancient circuit that stretches of nearly 656 feet underneath an area that’s now fields and olive groves. The next step in the process will be to do spot digs at the site to go down and find out what is actually there.
Part of the oblong track's distinctive outline was documented some seven feet (two meters) beneath fields and olive groves and extended almost 656 feet (200 meters) in length. Documents from Greek texts of the past peg the size of the chariot track at 3,444 feet long and featuring very elaborate starting gates, sharp turns and fancy distance posts.
Also, chariot racers where the only old Greeks to be clothed while competing. While other athletes competed nude, chariot drivers wore tunics.
So come on International Olympic Committee and NBC, let’s bring back the good old days of chariot races at the games. My hot tip – but don’t tell anyone you heard it from me – is to bet on the guy who looks most like Charleton Heston driving a team of white horses.