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Taylor: Headlines and history lessons

Last Friday’s SDN headline — “Peak 8 or Mt. Olympus?”— was quite clever, but unfortunately the putative link between the Olympic games and Mt. Olympus is wrong both geographically and historically. Mt. Olympus (9,573 feet high) is in northern Greece and about 270 kilometers away from the site of the ancient games as Zeus’ eagle flies and even more by car. So the only link is Zeus: he and his fellow Olympian gods resided on the mountain, whereas the ancient Olympics were held in Zeus’ honor at his shrine far to the south in the boonies of the Peloponnesian peninsula.

The games, really agones ‘struggles, contests’, began in 776 BC, the first recorded date in the history of western civilization (we have lists of victors). The venue, which is a magnificent archaeological site, was uninhabited in antiquity, and the modern town exists primarily to lodge and feed tourists and to sell them the usual trinkets. Greece does have a few ski resorts, most notably the one on Mt. Parnassus above Delphi, the home of the god Apollo. There were, of course, never any winter games in the ancient world (they began in 1924).

Sebastian Foltz’s article on the Olympic gold medalist skiers and boarders who will compete at this year’s Dew Tour in Breck was excellent, and hopefully the clever headline will help to ensure a large turnout of fans for all the events.

Dan Taylor

Wildernest


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