Thursday, May 21, 2009

First Olympian

Two and a half thousand years ago, sport was tough. Few athletes survived the rigours of the great sporting arenas of the Ancient Greeks and only one athlete has survived the ravages of time to offer a unique insight into a remarkable ancient world. First Olympian tells the “Athlete of Taranto´s” fascinating story.

Fifty years ago, a skeleton was found in Taranto in Southern Italy. On opening an ancient tomb,archaeologists found the skeleton with four richly decorated jars in each corner of the tomb, revealing that the owner had an obsession for sport. Cutting edge forensic analysis reveals fascinating details about his diet, general health and appearance and which sports he excelled at.

Lavish special effects and dramatic reconstruction then recreate the awesome sight of ancient Olympia and the games that would have drawn up to 40,000 spectators. They were definitely more brutal than the Olympics of today - one wrestler ensured victory by breaking his opponents’ fingers - but were they more physically challenging? To discover the truth, modern athletes are put to the test in a series of events using equipment designed from the remains of ancient originals.

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