Sporting Ideal of Limnos

Ancient Pentathlon

According to mythology, on Limnos, the island of Hephaestus, the complex athletic contest of Pentathlon was born, which first introduced in the 18th Olympiad in 708 B.C. Pentathlon is related to the stop of the Argonauts on Limnos during their trip from Iolkos to Kolchida. Queen Ypsipyli offered them shelter on Limnos and to honour them she organized athletic contests with great prizes. Pylaias won in wrestling, Telamonas in discus throw, Lygeas in javelin throw, Zitis in foot race and Kalaes in long jump. Iasonas, the leader of the Argonautic expedition, in order to honour Pileas who came first in wrestling and second in all the rest of the contests, unified the five (“pente” in Greek) contests creating the Pentathlon. In that way, Pileas was announced winner of Pentathlon. Modern pentathlon which is an Olympic sport came from ancient pentathlon.

Recently, on Limnos there has been an effort to revive ancient pentathlon, taking place in July with the organization of students athletic contests with participations from Greece and abroad. Within the framework of this sports event, cultural events also take place, making it a celebration of sports and culture.