Now You Know
Why is a marathon race exactly 26 miles and
385 yards long?
In 1908, the first modern Olympic marathon
was designed to start at
Windsor Castle and end in front of the royal
box in the London stadium,
a distance of exactly 26 miles, 385 yards,
and that became the official distance.
The race honoured Pheidippedes, who in 490
BC had run 22 miles,
1,470 yards to carry news to Athens that
the Greeks had defeated the
Persians on the plain of Marathon.
Would ancient Greek athletes have had any
chance against our well-trained modern Olympians?
At least two ancient Greek athletes would
have done well in the modern
games; their Olympic records stood until
the twentieth century.
Twenty-six hundred years ago, an athlete
named Protiselaus threw a
cumbersome primitive discus 152 feet from
a standing position. No one
exceeded that distance until Clarence Houser,
an American, threw the
discus 155 feet in 1928. In 656 BC, a Greek
Olympian named Chionis
leapt 23 feet, 1.5 inches, a long jump record
that stood until 1900,
when an American named Alvis Kraenzlein surpassed
it by 4.5 inches.
What does it mean to “rest on your laurels”?
The practice of using laurels to symbolize
victory came from the ancient
Greeks. After winning on the battlefield,
great warriors were crowned with
a wreath of laurels, or bay leaves, to signify
their supreme status during a
victory parade. Because the first Olympics
consisted largely of war games,
the champions were honoured in the same manner:
with a laurel, a crown
of leaves. To “rest on your laurels” means
to quit while you’re ahead.
Why is a trophy a symbol of victory?
fter a victory on a battlefield, the ancient
Greeks would build a monument
dedicated to a chosen god, which they called
a “trophy.” These
trophies were made of limbs stripped from
the dead enemy soldiers and
then hung on a tree or pillar, a ritual that
is kept alive by modern “trophy
hunters,” who celebrate their victory over
an unarmed animal by
hanging its head on the wall. Be grateful
for the Stanley Cup.A
Why is a blue ribbon a symbol of champions?
Blue was the favourite colour of England’s
King Edward III, who in
1348 created the highest Royal Order of the
Knights of the Garter. Its
membership was and is limited to the king
and princes of England as
well as a very few knights of distinguished
service. The insignia of the
Royal Order is a blue garter, and because
of this, blue ribbons have
come to be a reward for any supreme achievement.
From The Book Titled "Now You Know"
by Doug Lennox