Sunday, August 5, 2012

Top 6 Common Myths About the Ancient Olympics

The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. It's considered to be the world's foremost sports competition and more than 200 nations participate. The Olympic fever is on in London for the 2012 Olympic games. But there are some interesting facts about the ancient Olympic Games which were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of various city-states of Ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. Among those Olympic facts are some myth that you hardly know. So, to be aware of these myths we show you six most common myths about this historic event. Take a look...

1. The Games Were About Honor

The modern Olympic games are advertised as bringing the world together while somehow simultaneously bringing victory to your nation of origin. It’s like friendly competition on a global stage. Also, corporate sponsorship.

Obviously that wasn’t the case with the ancient Greeks. The games were part of a religious festival and competition was limited to the city states of Greece. However, there was no friendly competition because for the athletes it was only about the prizes. Cheating, while severely punished, was rampant. Athletes did whatever they could to get an edge over their opponents. What’s more, it was first place or no place. The Greeks knew that second place and third place were just different ways of saying “loser.”

However, there is something to the whole brotherly love aspect of the modern games. In ancient Greece all conflicts were postponed while the games were underway. So while you may have chariot racers trying to smack each other in the genitals to get a lead, at least actual soldiers weren’t going around stabbing people and stuff. They had a little thing called “class.”

2. The Greeks Played Naked for the Sake of Beauty

The ancient Greeks loved naked dudes. Not in a creepy way, mind you, they just loved the aesthetics. You can crack open a history book and be given a hundred different reasons why this was, but if you crack open an art history book you suddenly get the impression that no one really needed much of a reason to take off their pants.

Women were not permitted to compete in the games and married women were banned from the audience. Those caught sneaking in were taken to the mountain Typaeum and given a complimentary ticket back to the bottom at the hands of angry (and presumably nude) men. But because costumes were plentiful and detectives less so, the ladies were still able to sneak in. After the mother of a competitor disguised herself as her son’s trainer, everyone involved with the games had to be nude to prove their gender.

3. The Torch Relay is Ancient

we’re not saying the Olympic flame is a modern invention, because written records say otherwise. Its origins lie in the legend of Prometheus stealing fire from Zeus and using it to enlighten man. A fire was lit and maintained throughout the ancient games (according to legend, the torch itself has been burning since the very first games).

However, there was no relay to light the fire. That was introduced in the 1936 Berlin games, perhaps better known as the Hitler Olympics. The Nazi party wanted to bring a sense of mystique to the recently revived games and sought to bring an ancient feel to the event. This also served as propaganda: by tying the modern games to the ancient games, Hitler pushed his belief that Greece was the perfect Aryan society. The relay took place over three-thousand kilometers with over three-thousand runners, over the course of twelve straight days.

The International Olympic Committee liked the Greek connection and kept the relay while just sort of ignoring the the Nazi propaganda part. It’s still a point of controversy for some.

4. The Olympic Rings Are Ancient

It’s understandable that someone would believe that the torch relay was a rich tradition and not the brainchild of one of history’s greatest monsters. The rings, however, are another story.

The rings are strictly a modern invention. As previously mentioned the ancient games were essentially a party for Greece and no one else. And while the competing city-states would be decent enough to stop trying to kill each other for the duration, that doesn’t mean it was some big unity hug fest. If anything, the games were about boasting individual superiority.

The International Olympic Committee revived the games under the banner of world unity (ironically, the onset of World War I postponed said unity). The rings were meant to symbolize the openness of the event with each ring representing one of the five continents from where competitors would be from (with the Americas being a single continent). Though there’s a few handy references for which color ring represents which continent the IOC doesn’t recognize any sort of color code.

5. Women Were Banned In Ancient Games

The Greeks loved nudity but hated ladies, apparently. Married women were severely punished for attempting to watch the games. This probably had something to do with maintaining virtue or purity or some other male-dominated society excuse, but that doesn’t mean women were banned completely from the games.

While it’s true that a woman couldn’t coach an athlete, a woman could own a team in certain team events. There are a few instances where chariot racers owned by lady aristocrats won the gold. We can only assume that the victor wasn’t chucked off a mountain for their efforts (the Greeks had some sense of integrity). Interestingly enough, the Greeks held an all-female festival for Hera which featured its own sporting events.

6. Greek Competitors Were Amateur Athletes

Part of the thrill of watching the Olympics is to see relatively unknown competitors try to wow an audience bred on professional sports. You’re watching people who spent much of their lives train for a single event where there can only be three winners.

And the Greeks would have none of it. It isn’t fair to say that there were ancient pro athletes, nor would it be correct to say that everyone walking into the games was an amateur. Greek athletes were only interested in prizes, be they symbolic or literal, and the word “athlete” means “one who competes for a prize.” Many of those who competed in the games did not compete elsewhere or at any other time of the year (outside of training, of course). Thus you had men who would irregularly compete for valuable prizes whenever the opportunity arose. They could be considered your pros. Those who won regularly were treated like modern celebrities.

Hyundai's Unique Way to Test Their Cars Using Monkeys

Hyundai recently loosed 40 baboon monkeys to test the durability of their latest Hyundai i30 2012 hatchback.

There is no better way to test the durability of a brand new family saloon other than to leave it at the mercy of a troop of cheeky little monkeys. That is precisely what Korean car maker Hyundai did when it wanted to discover how its new i30 hatchback would withstand the ordeal of so many inquisitive minds, prying fingers and sticky paw marks. Not to mention the unmentionable from a species never noted for potty-training.
At one stage there were 40 baboons road-testing the car, jumping up and down on the seats and clambering through the ‘panoramic ambience’ of the sliding glass roof.

Baboons at Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside are no strangers to ripping apart family cars but are actually highly intelligent. The automotive monkey-business was inspired by another great mind - Wayne Rooney, whose £80,000 Audi was damaged by the mob when the footballer visited the park last year.

The Hyundai was handed over to the troop for ten hours and left unattended. Designers wanted to see how the finish would stand up to the kind of punishment the average child might inflict during the car’s lifetime.
Dozens of the animals colonised it from the moment it was driven into their enclosure.

‘Safari park monkeys are particularly good at discovering weak points on cars and then pulling, prodding and tearing at the parts until they break,’ said Hyundai project manager Felicity Wood.

And the result was quite satisfactory after the 10 hours monkey test - a few scrapes, lots of smears and finger marks, a dislodged rubber door seal that was rejected as a snack, plus some tooth marks in the steering wheel but the good news is that no monkey stole the alloys. Here are some more photos of this unusual monkey test. Take a look...

Acro Yoga - The Coolest Partner Yoga

AcroYoga is a form of partner yoga where two yogis work together for therapeutic release and acrobatic fun. It is a physical practice which blends elements of yoga, acrobatics, and healing arts. Founders Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein met in San Francisco in 2003 and began practicing together soon after, combining their backgrounds in yoga and acrobatics to create supported versions of traditional yoga poses with the intent to build human connections and create community.

The evolution of AcroYoga beyond its traditional flow and movement through the fusion of the form with other movement arts and techniques to create a contemporary aesthetic that knows no boundaries or forms yet represents the body in motion in all its expressions. Now let's take a look at some more photos of this creative yoga technique...