The Ancient Olympics, By Nigel Spivey


Though other ancient games awarded prizes as high as 120 amphorae of olive oil (worth £50,000 today), winners at Olympia gained only the victor's laurels and the accompanying kudos.

Spivey's account of ancient sport reveals that gymnasia offered more stimulus than modern equivalents though prizes were given for "love of training". Noting the appeal of the revived Olympiad to the Fascist personality – following the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the 1940 games were heading for Tokyo – Spivey sees the ancient site of Olympia as a peaceful place "where [we] show ourselves at our best."