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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 19, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta y, SfpLmltr 19, THI imfflHIDCE HBU1D g Walter Monfried When the Olympics were first held TT WAS in 776 DC that tile Olympic Games officially began although tho actual beginning, long before llmt, is shrouded in the mists of. my thical antiquity. At the lime or UK first full moon alter the begijuiing of summer in lhat year we now call 776 EC a foot race was held at Olympia, 1ZO miles southwest o! Athens. It was n momentous contest end drew a largo throng Irom all parts o[ Greece. The win- ner of that race, of about 200 yarrb, was Corocbus, of Elis In the Olympia region. He was crowned with fl wreath woven from the leaves and twigs of the olive tree that Hercules had planted go the ancient poets sang, The tree was close to flic temple of Ecus, king of (lie gods. Thus flie fame of Coroebus will endure for all lime as Iho first Olympic victor. The an- cient Greeks then began to measure Hie years by Olym- piads, just as the modern world measures time from the birth of Christ. According to legend the demigod Hercules, son of Zeus and a. mortal woman, founded the games in honor of his matorrnal grandfather, who was killed in the incessant series of wars among the Greek city-states. He wished to have one month set aside each year in which wars should not be waged and peaceful competition should prevail among men. His wish was respected by later genera- tions. Truces were declared for the duration of the games. Nowadays, lonrists by the. thousands drive or take buses on the narrow winding roads through the mountains to see Olympia. Outside Hie small, unpreten- tious village the level playing field, covered with unkempt grass and weeds, stretches out as it did long ago. It is a largo tract, several times the size of a fooball field, and the em- bankments on both sides still indicate the large numbers of spectators that could be accom- modated. Al first there were no seals even Zeus himself had to stand, the legend says. And there was no women's lib about the event, (ither. Tho men competed rude and women were forbidden, on pain of death lo attend. The distance of the first race, 200 yards, was called Bladion by the Greeks henca the word stadium. Outside the playing field the fragmentary relics of the an- cient temples are scattered about pitiably. Broken blocks of marble litter the area lor mar.y acres. After the fall of ancient civ- ilization, Olympia was wreck- ed by invaders, early Christians and earthquakes. Then It was buried under 20 feet of mud deposited by the flooding Al- phcus River. About 100 years ago the archcologisls, mainly German, rediscovered Olympia and led their crews in clearing away the debris and bringing lo light the Olympic meadow and the remains of the buildings. The 200-yard dash that Coroe- bus won was the only event in Lhe early Olympics. The games at first were of interest only to the people of chat reg- ion, Elis. Gradually all he Greek cily-slales began to taka part In the Oympics, which be- came a national religious festi- val. About 700 B.C. the organization added jumping, discus throw- ing, javelin throwing and wrest- ling to (he foot racing. Thus was evolved the pentathlon, or five contest, performed in this order: Jumping, running, dis- cus, javelin, wrestling. Only rarely did a contestant take first in all five phases. Gradually the repertory was Increased to 24 events, 18 for men and six for boys. All of Ihese contests did not take place at a single Olympic meet. Some were abolished after a short period and others were added from time to lime. Boxing became one of the popular sports and with it came scandal. In the Will Olympiad Eupolus of Thessaly was found guilty of bribing Uirce oppon- ents to let him win the boxing matches. He was lined and, ac- cording lo accounts, was per- mitted to save face by leaping to death off a. cliff. His example did not help much. Many future competi- tors were also caught cheat- ing and were lined. The money collected from the c-ooked ath- letes was used to set up a line of statues. These statues, called Zanes, were placed so that the alhletes, marching into the stadium, could see them clear- ly as a reminded to be honest. Beyond the south boundary of the Olympic field proper a hippodrome was built for char- iot racing. This, too, became popular, so much so as to draw protests. An Athenian boxer, Callias, protested that the char- iot races look up so much time that the boxers had to hold their matches by Ihe light of the moon fortunately, a near- ly full moon. Another sport that pleased the multitudes greatly was Uie pancratium, a combinalion of boxing and wrestling. The an- taconisls, competing nude, had llicir bodies oiled and sanded, as in wrestling. Any sort of attack was kicking, slugging, eye gouging, strangling. A pancratium, began slowly, with the fighters skirmishing about to gain advantage oE po- sition; the object was to have an opponent facing the sun's glare. It was a battle to the finish, with the Victory decided only when a contestant acknowledg- ed defeat or was killed. The latter trick was usually done by a vicious kick to the throat, according to Aristotle. The broad jumpers, carried small weights of lead or stone in both hands. As an athlete leaped from the foul line he extended his arms to their ut- most to gain impetus. In some races the ntHetea were light or heavy armor, or they carried shields and spears. Tho spear carrying event was dropped after one runner, who had led throughout Uie race, was nosed out at the tape. In anger he plunged liis speair through, the winner. Before an athlete was per- mitted to compete he was com- pelled to train for his specially for 10 hours a day or so, for 10 months. The men spent long hours in running are] waddling on knees. To develop endir- ancc they "ran" in sand up to their knees. After Greece was conquered by the Romans and in- corporated into the vast em- pire, Olympic contestants came from points as far as Spain and other rations the civiliz- ed world, Not only did they compete in athletics but in poet- ry, song, drama and art. The bar against women was remov- ed. There were female contest- ants as well as spectators. At the 128th Olympic Games a Macedonian woman won the race for chariots drawn by pairs of colls. Inevitably the games be- came more and more com- marcialized and corrupt, Nero, who was emperor of Homo around 60 A.D., fancied him- self an all-around genius and competed in an Olympic char- iot race. Although he failed to finish first, he declared him- Belf the winner. The religious and patriotic aspects of the games were forgotten as contestants not content with a olive wreath, demanded gifts and money. The Olympics degenerated Into brawling carnivals and were ended by decree of Em- peror Theodosius I of Home in 394 A.D. Thirty years laler liis successor ordered the destruc- tion of the boundary walls around the Olympic enclosure. The last victor whose name has come down lo us is Varas- dates, an Armenian prince, who excelled in boxing. Fifteen centuries later Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France instigated the revival of llm Olympics for the modern world. (From Milwaukee Journal) "let's hopt that ht and Bobby Fischer art last joins .through a Q Ifn kj MA, l.i "Thcncv interneltonof itmi sign sjslem is going lo worfr autmich belter than ffie elJ, How I won't hare to slap and think which is m right end which Is my Book Reviews Lengthy but unique history of Civil War "Children of Pride: n true slory of Georgia and the Civil War" cililcd hy Itobcrt Man- son Myers. (Yale University Tress: nPHE Her. Dr. diaries Col- cock. Jones was pastor of Midway Church in Liberty Counly, Georgia, before flirf during Ihe Civil War. He was also a planler of considerablo weallh, a descendant of an En- glish colony which came lo Massachusetts In 1630, Ihcnco to Connecticut, South Carolina, finally settling in Georgia in 1752. His family connection was extensive. Though Its members wcrtr- separated, living on different plp.ntatinns. they seldom lacked for news of one another. They wrote lengthy letters about their daily lives, the minutiae of housekeeping, of hirlh, of death, of Illness, revealing altitudes lo R social situation which Ihcy ac- cepted as their God given right without qucslion. Their letters have been pre- served, and at long last, edited, presenting one of the most de- tailed exposes of life in- (ho deep South in Ihe late lB5fls and early sixties, ever to lie presented lo the public. This was an economy found- ed on slavery, n social lifo whose mainstay was tha church, a lime when plantation owners, even Ihe clergy among them, believed implicity that they had been called to a priv- ileged slalion by Almighty God himself. Benevolent, hard work- Ing, full of love for their fellows, and even for their slaves, they did not question Ihe dichotomy In an ethic which permitted black men lo exist in bondage lo the white. They quite sincerely that slaves were children in mentality from tho lime Ihcy were bom until they died, and lhat the white man's Christian duty wns lo convert them to Iris religion, look niter him when ho was sick, punish him when ho sinned and sell him to some- one else when lie was no longer needed. The correspondence reveals a deep abiding belief in a religion which governed their daily liveo from clav.ii imlil dark, hut which they totally divorced from the issue of slavery. As long as you were kind, thought- ful, nnd polile to the black man, gave him the advantage of leaning all about God as you knew him, your duly was ful- filled. In spite ol this fatal flaw Remarque's final work "Shadows In Paradise" liy Erich Maria Remarque (Har- court Uracc Jovanovicli, Inc., 57.95, :iO.'> p d g e s, distributed by Longman Canada Lim- f RI C H KEMATIQTIE ba- came knov.Ti as an author when he published his first novel, All Quiet on the Western front, In 1923 and lie conl.imiorl 10 effectively until his death In September 1970. Shad- ows in Paradise was his final work and reflects in mnny ways the altitudes and experiences of Ihc author himself. Like the 11 e r o of his hook, Remarque vehemently and left Germany wlipn the Nazis came to power, living first in Switzerland and later in Ameri- ca where he became a citizen of the United Stales in 1M7. In the novel, Robert Ross es- caped from a German concen- tration camp and with the help of a forced passport made his way to New York. There he on his amazing knowledge of paintings and antiques and found a modest Job in the art field. lie did well in liis job, made good friends, fell in love with n lovely fash- ion model, Natasha, and in many ways it looked as if ho had it made, New York was in- deed paradise for a refugee. 11 tit his old lifo kept returning lo haunt him; he scream- ing from nightmares of horrors he'd known; he dreamed of ways In which to seek revenge for the wrongs perpetrated on rum and his fellow countrymen; he found that there are very real and frightening shadows even in paradise. This novel is a powerful and a moving one, a fitting climax to the writing career of a highly acclaimed author. ELSPETH WALKER Guide for unseasoned "A Guide for Canadians Travelling A b r o a