Olympics 2004

THIS WAS ONE OLYMPIC SITE THAT HAD BEEN completed ahead of schedule—by some 2,500 years. It was free of commerce and awash in sportsmanship. In other words, it was unlike an Olympic event, ancient or modern. It was, as U.S. silver medalist Adam Nelson called it, “shot put Nirvana,” held in the house of Zeus. With the sun rising over verdant hills, crowds streamed into the ancient grounds of Olympia, 200 miles west of Athens, for the shot put competition. With no stands and no score-board, the stadium stood as it had in AD. 393, when it had last hosted the Games. The shot putters paraded on the field beneath the same archway as did the ancient Olympians. “It was awesome to walk into the stadium,” said U.S. competitor John Godina. The shot putters had the 15,000 spectators all to themselves. For once they were the stars, not just a sideshow in the track-and-field circus. The 10-hour event, won by Russian Irma Korzhanenko (women’s) and Ukrainian Yuriy Bilonog (men’s), came down to the final throws, a rousing end to a glorious day. “I’m tired, hungry, thirsty and covered in ancient dirt,” said a spectator. “And wish I could do it all over again:’ 

                                                                                  —By: Jane WuIf/Olynipia

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