Olympic Poems

Olympic poetry seems like it would be abundantly available in the midst of 2008 Olympic mania, but the only really good Olympic poet I could find was an old standby…from 476 B.C.  Here are parts of some very old yet very cool Olympic poetry, both from a poet named Pindar:


Olympic Poetry (1)

Water is supreme, and gold
Like fire at night stands out
Among all the subtances that heighten human pride–
But if you want to celebrate 
Greatness in games, O my soul, you’ll find
No brighter star in the vastness of space
Than the sun, no contest more glorious
Than Olympia–


Olympic Poetry (2)

Nikeus sent the stone
spun from the whirl of his hand
past them all, and as it passed his comrades in arms
sent a shout roaring after it.
And then the radiance
of the moon’s beautiful eye made everything shine.

I’m not sure who did the translations.  If you know, please post.  Or if you have any modern Olympic poetry favorites, you can share those in the comments section, as well.  Both of these excerpts were found at Online Newshour — Olympic Poems, where you can read more complete versions of Pindar’s original “old school” Olympic poetry.

You can also read a poem specifically about the 2008 Summer Olympics here:  2008 Summer Olympics: The Short Version – The Games in Rhyme.

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