There’s something so thrilling about the Olympics that it’s hard not to be a huge fan. I’ve attended several Olympics in LA, Barcelona, and London. While extensive media coverage dominates the airwaves , I don’t recall any of the reporters mentioning the importance of olive oil to the Olympics and the athletes. Olive oil and the Olympics is a fascinating story with a deep history dating back to the beginning of the first games in Greece. In fact, the Olympic flame is still ignited using a mirror and olive oil.
Quick olive oil facts of the early Olympic games:
- Athletes competed naked.
- Wrestlers used olive oil on their skin to reduce their opponent’s grip.
- Runners were often massaged with olive oil before their race in the belief that the wisdom, power and strength of the Goddess Athena would be bestowed upon them.
- While women could not participate nor attend, it was the duty of the priestesses to light the oil lamps in the temple of Zeus with olive oil.
- Victorious athletes were crowned with wreaths of olive branches, and were given an amphorae filled with the finest precious and expensive olive oil
While athletes today strive for a gold medal, early Olympians competed for victory and “liquid gold”
Read more in this article: Olive Oil and the Olympics that I wrote for The Olive Oil Source in 2012 before the London Olympics.