Every two years, in the sanctuary of Nemea in the Peloponnese, games as famous as the Olympic ones were held in honor of Zeus, father of gods and mortals.
Today I’m not going to post photos of the site’s stadium or the famous “tunnel” that led to it; instead, I’m posting a humbler one, of the starting line, with some footwear scattered near it.
During a visit at the site with students of the University of Missouri, the students took off their shoes and ran barefoot in the ancient stadium, in an effort to come closer to the spirit of antiquity and feel the excitement of the ancient games.
Naturally, one of them crossed the finishing line first. But, whereas in antiquity only the first athlete was rewarded, today all competitors were rewarded by the feeling that they ran the same course that athletes 24 centuries ago ran along, on the same dirt, under the same scorching sun.
On June 10th-12th, 1800 athletes from all over the world, of both sexes and all ages will have the same opportunity – namely to compete in the ancient stadium of Nemea during the modern revival of the games, which are now held every 4 years.
(You may want to see a video of the most recent Nemean Games, of 2012).