P139The stadion was the oldest Olympic sport. It is a sprint event over a distance of 600 feet. Because the length of the foot differed from place to place, the length of the stadion and other running events also varied. The stadion at Olympia, for example, was 192,28 m long and that in Delphi 177,55 m. The distance of stadion which the women ran in the Heraia was only 5/6 of the length of the stadion for men. The Olympic stadion race for men, ran in honour of Zeus, was measured in the feet of the 200 feet long temple of Zeus. The stadion for women, ran in honour of Hera, was measured in the shorter feet of the 200 feet long temple of Hera.

During the sprint the athletes waved their arms vigorously up and down to increase their speed. On vase-paintings sprinters can be recognized by their large paces, the slightly bent trunk, the arms stretched out at shoulder-level and the open hands.

© KU Leuven, 2012