This program explores sports and diet in ancient Greece, while also providing a rigorous exercise schedule for participants. We cover three different aspects of sports and fitness. We begin with their history in ancient Greece, using the Olympic Games and other Panhellenic sports festivals as case studies. Then we explore aspects of the famous Mediterranean diet, its evolution since antiquity, and its contemporary use. This theoretical framework is followed by training sessions with licensed coaches from the Greek Wrestling Federation and practice matches against wrestlers from local clubs. It is an innovative approach to study abroad programs, that provides a holistic experiential learning process, and enables students to develop new interests, while providing valuable training with accomplished Greek athletes.
History of the Ancient Olympic Games
This module encourages students to survey the origins of sports by focusing on ancient Greek sporting events. There were four separate major sports festivals held in ancient Greece: the Olympic Games in honor of Zeus, the Pythian Games in honor of Apollo, the Nemean Games in honor of Zeus and Hercules, and the Isthmian Games in honor of Poseidon. Collectively, these were known as the “Panhellenic Games” and the main events were wrestling, boxing, pankration, various foot and chariot races, as well as the pentathlon. We will explore the venues where these events were held, the political and social conditions that prevailed in each region, and the value of victory to an athlete. Students will also become acquainted with ancient sports through practical demonstrations of techniques and improvised games.
The importance of the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet and its gradual evolution through the centuries is the main focus of this module. Initially, the students will learn about the cuisine and eating habits of the Greeks in antiquity. The climate and the generally rocky soil of Greece meant that the ancient cuisine was frugal and based on wheat, olive oil, and wine. Bread, fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, cheese, honey, and some meat were the staples of the ancient dining table. We will explore methods of food preparation and consumption, as well as the most common utensils used. Our focus will be the athlete’s diet. The module also has an interactive part, where participants will prepare typical Mediterranean dishes…and then taste them. There will also be a comprehensive reference to the modern Mediterranean diet and its many benefits.
Wrestling Training Session
Wrestling was serious business for participants and spectators in the ancient Olympic Games. After all, Zeus himself became ruler of the world following a wrestling match with his father, Cronus. The purpose of this module is to initiate participants to wrestling and help them familiarize themselves with the basic concepts and rules of this combat sport. The topics covered will include elemental introductory concepts, rules, and regulations, as well as basic offensive and defensive stances, movements, and holds. We will also explore the differences between Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling. Despite its name, the former was only contested for the very first time in 1896, at the first modern Olympic Games. Finally, participants will look at the ideal characteristics of a successful wrestling athlete.
- Visit the site of Ancient Olympia, where the Olympic Games were born, and countless athletes traveled to in order to compete and achieve everlasting glory
- Experience the history of the Panhellenic Games in a number of locations, from Nemea, to the Corinthian Isthmus, and Athens
- Practice with licensed coaches from the Greek Wrestling Federation, and learn new practice routines employed by Greek wrestlers
- Play in friendly matches with wrestlers from local clubs to practice the new techniques you’ve learned
- Learn about the importance of the Mediterranean diet, and how to implement it in your daily lives
- Visit the Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum, and explore one of the most famous ancient monuments in the world
- Visit the Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro (lit. “beautiful marble”), the only stadium in the world built entirely with marble, and learn about the sports that athletes competed in during the Panathenaic Games in Ancient Greece
Students that participate in this academic and fitness program will develop a better understanding of the history of western sports and competition, as well as the importance of a healthy diet.
Furthermore, they will have the opportunity to learn basic concepts and training routines for wrestling, and practice those with qualified professionals, and against wrestlers from local clubs.
Lastly, the program promotes experiential learning, creating unique memories and experiences that will inspire participants in the future to pursue their interests.
PERKS & OPTIONS
What is included in our programs?
- 3 US credits provided by the Hellenic American University
- Accommodation in hand-picked and well-located superior class hotels
- Breakfast and lunch
- Professionals e.g. licensed guides, lecturers, and tour managers
- Entrance fees to museums and archaeological sites
- All land and sea transportation included in the itinerary of the specific program
- Information material
- Local taxes
- Travel insurance
- Transport to and from the airport in Greece
- Airfares to and from Greece
- Any custom request