On the Playing Fields of the Gods

This was one Olympic site that had been completed ahead of schedule--by some 2,500 years. It was free of commerce and awash in sportsmanship. In other words, it was unlike an Olympic event, ancient or modern. It was, as U.S. silver medalist Adam Nelson called it, "shot put Nirvana," held in the house of Zeus. With the sun rising over verdant hills, crowds streamed into the ancient grounds of Olympia, 200 miles west of Athens, for the shot put competition. With no stands and no scoreboard, the stadium stood as it had in A.D. 393, when it had last hosted the...

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