Time Travelling Sportathon

Date started
: 20 May 2012
Date completed: 20 May 2012
Number of Cubs: 49

Challenge Report
On the Sunday of our Friendship Camp the Cubs all competed in a time travelling sportathon. They boarded the Tardis, closed their eyes and were whisked back 2,500 years to Ancient Greece (we expected the weather to be warmer, but sadly there was no improvement). The Cubs’ knowledge of the Ancient Greek Olympics was already extremely good – they knew when and where it began (Olympia in 776BC), how often it happened (every four years), who was allowed to compete (young, free men who were able to speak Greek), what they wore to compete (nothing at all, other than a smearing of olive oil) and who the games were held in honour of (Zeus). They also knew about all of the events that took place during the games: sprinting, long jump, discus, javelin, chariot racing, a marathon, the race of the Hoplites, wrestling and boxing. And they knew that at the time of the games Greek was not one country, but many warring city states, with a sacred truce called during the games, to allow the athletes to travel to Olympia in safety.

Each of the teams was given a city state to represent and were provided with togas to wear (we decided it was a bit too chilly to compete naked). One at a time the ten city states took our special Olympic oath, kneeling before Zeus, and then kissed his feet to show their respect for him. The wording of our oath was:

I promise that I shall take part in these Olympic Games 
Respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them
Committing myself to the games without cheating
In the true spirit of sportsmanship
For the glory of sport and the honour of my team

Once the oath had been taken, the Olympians then approached the registration table, said “Hello, my name is ...” in Greek, and signed their names on the city state’s scroll to confirm that they would abide by the rules of the games. The ten city states taking part in our games were:
  • Troy
  • Thebes
  • Sparta
  • Neapolis 
  • Megalopolis
  • Zakros 
  • Heraklion
  • Ithaca
  • Kallipolis
  • Rhodes
The city states each took part in five different events over the course of the morning (you can watch all of the events in our movie of the games): 
  • Long jump: from a standing start – our record was 2.10m
  • Javelin: using foam javelins, with an impressive record throw of more than 19m!
  • Discus: using a foam discus, with a record throw of more than 15m
  • Chariot racing: the chariots looked a lot like sledges and the horse were Cub sized and wore togas
  • The race of the Hoplites: there was no full armour but they did wear helmets for this exhausting obstacle race.
The team score was recorded for each event and they were given 1-10 points per event depending on how they did. Zeus watched over proceedings and made sure that there was no cheating going on – he did throw himself face first at the ground a number of times, but fortunately did not launch himself at any of our competitors.

Once the final scores were in, the Cubs formed up into their city states for the award ceremony. There were only four points between the top three teams, but the title, and the golden olive crowns, finally went to Kallipolis.