Back in ancient Greece the Olympics were for men and only men.
Women couldn’t participate, and often weren’t even allowed to watch.
Rules in some places even said that married women who were caught watching were supposed to be thrown off a mountain into a river (!)
But there were women athletes in ancient Greece, and for a time they held their own Olympic-style competition and festival: the Heraean Games.
The little we know about these games comes from a 2nd century writer, Pausanias, who said that every four years, women from 16 city-states to weave a robe for Hera, queen of the gods, and hold foot races.
The winners would receive olive headdresses and statues carved in their honor.
But, like the Olympic Games, the Heraean Games were only open to single ladies.
Married women were essentially told, with apologies to Beyonce, if you wanted to run you shouldn’t have put a ring on it.
These days you can watch Olympic events in Tokyo live from virtually anywhere in the world, except the stadium where they’re taking place.
But that wasn’t always the case.
The 1960 Summer Games were the first to be telecast in the U.S.
They would record the events in Rome, fly them to Paris, make copies, and fly the copies to New York.
And they could show those tapes on American TV that same night!
The Women: Were The Ancient Olympics Just For Men? (Penn Museum)
Rome, Italy, 1960 (Britannica)
Photo by Albert via Flickr/Creative Commons