Kleitomachos

Kleitomachos from Thebes was an all-round fighter. He won victories in the three heavy events: wrestling, boxing and pankration. He was the first Greek to win all three events on a single day at the Isthmian games. At the Pythian games he won three victories in the pankration. At the Olympic games he won in 216 both the pankration and the boxing and in 212 BC only the boxing, although the hellanodikai haP108d granted his request to place the pankration before the boxing, against the normal order of the program, so that Kleitomachos would not have to start the pankration with boxing wounds.

Kleitomachos was very popular with the spectators and was normally loudly applauded by them. When the crowd once sympathised with an unknown opponent from Alexandria, Kleitomachos interrupted the match for a brief moment, according to Polybius, and asked the spectators to sympathise with him, a real Greek against an Egyptian. The public picked his side and so he won the match.

Kleitomachos was famous - and remained so even in the Roman period - for his ascetic way of life, especially for his sexual abstinence.
The father of Kleitomachos dedicated a statue of his son at Olympia. This statue has been wrongly identified with the famous statue of the 'sitting boxer' on the picture to the right.

© KU Leuven, 2012