History of Archery

History of Archery, Discus Throw and Other Ancient Olympic Games

The ancient Olympic Games originated in Greece in 776 B.C. The original games were simple in nature, and they only included one foot race between unclothed men. These games did not include firearms, gun parts, or bulk ammo, but the ancient Greeks were excited to attend this athletic and religious festival held to honor their gods. Slowly over the years, the Olympic Games were expanded to include other events such as wrestling, equestrian sports, and the pankration.


  • The bow and arrow are ancient weapons that may have originated in ancient Egypt.
  • Archery did not become an Olympic sport until the year 1900.
  • Archery can involve either a recurve or compound bow. When shooting for target competition, recurve archers shoot at a longer distance than compound archers.


  • Boxing competitions in the ancient Olympic Games generally involved fighting that lasted until one of the athletes was unconscious.
  • Boxing became an official Olympic event in the year 688 B.C. Some time later, boys also began engaging in this sport.
  • Theagenes of Thasos was the first Olympic athlete to earn a title in boxing and pankration.

Equestrian Events

  • Equestrian events were some of the most dangerous events of the ancient Olympics. Track and riding conditions contributed to significant dangers.
  • The equestrian events were held at the hippodrome.

Chariot Racing

  • The first year that chariot races were held in the ancient Olympics was 680 B.C.
  • Chariot races may have included up to 10 different chariots. Each chariot was pulled by either a two-horse or four-horse team.


  • Riding events involved horses and riders completing six laps around the stadium track, totaling 4.5 miles.
  • Two different horse-riding competitions occurred in the ancient Olympic Games. One race was for mature horses, and the other race involved foals.


  • Pankration involved hand-to-hand combat without rules. Fighters could even pull each other's noses.
  • The sport of pankration involved a combination of boxing and wrestling. Fighters could bite and twist arms in combat.
  • The Greeks considered boxing to be more dangerous than pankration during the ancient Olympics.


  • The pentathlon was a part of the ancient Olympic Games. This competition included a race of about 200 yards, the long jump, discus and javelin throws, and a wrestling match.
  • Ancient Olympic Games scheduled the pentathlon on the second day of the sporting events.
  • All of the events of the pentathlon were held on the same afternoon. Discus-throwing was the first event to occur.

Discus Throw


  • Javelin-throwing involved the use of the "ankyle," which was a leather thong that enabled Olympians to throw the long spear.
  • The leather loop used in javelin-throwing enabled the athletes to throw the spears a longer distance.


  • Long jumpers held weights in their hands to increase their force and give themselves more jumping power.
  • The long jump was a part of the pentathlon event.



  • Wrestling was an event included in the ancient Olympic Games.
  • Punching, biting, gouging, and tripping were not allowed during wrestling matches held in the ancient Olympic Games.

More Information and Research on the Ancient Olympic Games

  • Athlete and State: Qualifying for the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece (PDF): Explore the process by which athletes had to qualify to participate in the ancient Olympic Games.
  • The Olympics (PDF): Ancient Olympic Games were held every four years.
  • Ancient Greek Women in Sport: Gender separation was common in ancient Greece. Women were not permitted to watch or participate in the ancient Olympic Games.
  • Sports and the Ancient Greece Olympics: Ancient Olympic Games were arranged and held to honor the god Zeus.
  • Olympia: Site of Ancient Olympics: Olympia is the location where the Greeks held the ancient Olympic Games.
  • The Ancient Olympics: The year 776 B.C. was the first year in which the ancient Olympic Games were held.
  • The Olympic Games: The very first Olympic Games included only one foot race, which was approximately 190 meters long.
  • Evolution of the Olympics: Gradually, events were added to the Olympic Games, including wrestling and equestrian events.
  • The Olympic Games: Problems with corruption were to blame for Theodosius calling for a halt to the ancient Olympic Games.
  • The Olympics History: The first Olympic champion was Coroebus, a cook from Elis.