A Diary Entry of an Olympian
An Olympian undergoes various experiences whilst intending to compete within the Olympics – who knows why? One would say that it is the expectations of your entire city-state resting on your shoulders; another would say that is the fact that those of Greek ethnicity would be watching you fulfil your ambitions and desires. Despite the infinite number of opinions on this matter, what I think, is what truly matters to me, as you will come to see.
Leading up until the 10-month training period, I had not enacted much intense training to keep within an athlete condition, with my preparation merely being completing the duties I had on my family’s farm – as well as the occasional jog around the fields. This had served as an excellent off-season training programme; but this had not lasted as when the actual 10 months had come to pass, all that my mind was set on was how I was going to prepare for the auspicious event. During this duration, I had put myself on a strict diet of cheese and meat (from the animals in my family’s farm, otherwise it would’ve been too expensive); both were great sources of protein. I had also focused on the fitness of my body through bodyweight exercises and acrobatics. At the time, I had thought one could not enact more intense training than what I had been doing – upon arriving at Elis (with only one month to the games), I was proved terribly wrong.
At Elis, our training and diets were monitored by the then judges of the games, called the Hellanodikai (who were citizens of Elis, picked at random) – each split into three groups, which each group specifying in a certain sport; with one chief Hellanodikai overseeing all the other groups. Much of the training which the Olympians had undergone, was in either the Palaistra or the Gymnasium – or as I liked to refer to them: ‘The domain of Hades’ (means ‘hell on earth’). The Gymnasium itself was equipped with for the running events – with a track the same length of the stadium, 192.28 metres – as well as the outdoor courtyard being large enough for throwing both discus and javelin; within the Palaistra there was a long room – ideal for jumping – as well as the Coryceum – which featured an indoor training area for wrestlers and a punching-bag for boxers. Due to me being a Pentathlon competitor, I had spent an equal amount of time in both facilities; in the Gymnasium, I had trained for the Stadion, discus and javelin, and in the Palaistra I had trained for the wrestling and the long-jump.
With 2 days left until the games commenced, all of those in Elis had set off to Olympia (approximately 58 km). The first to travel were the Hellanodikai and the officials, who were then followed by us athletes and our trainers (who were past champions). We had spent the night before the games at Letrini. Whilst heading up the mountain to Olympia, upon looking down I saw a sea of potential spectators, as well as many merchants and businessmen – each hoping to...