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Authors: Mary Pope Osborne

Tags: #Ages 5 & Up

Hour of the Olympics (4 page)

BOOK: Hour of the Olympics
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Next they passed a beautiful statue of a winged lady.

“Who’s that?” said Jack.

“She’s Nike, the goddess of victory,” said Plato.

Jack quickly wrote:

“Nike is important to the games,” said Plato. “But the most important Olympic god is in there.”

He took Jack to a brick building with huge columns. They stepped through the door. It was a temple. Jack gasped.

In front of them loomed the biggest statue he had ever seen.

The statue was at least two stories high. It was a bearded man sitting on a throne.

“This is the temple of Zeus. And that is a statue of Zeus himself,” said Plato. “The Olympic Games are played in his honor. He is the chief god of the Greek gods and goddesses.”

“Oh, man,” whispered Jack.

“Yesterday all the athletes came here,” said Plato. “They swore to Zeus that they had trained for ten months. And they promised to obey the rules of the games.”

The statue of the mighty Greek god stared down at Jack.

Jack felt very small.

“Hi, Zeus,” he said. His voice was small, too.

Suddenly, trumpet sounds came from outside.

“The hour has come,” said Plato. “We must hurry. The Olympic parade begins!”

Plato and Jack hurried past the crowds standing at the sides of the race track. Everyone was shouting and cheering.

“I have seats next to the judges,” said Plato. He pointed to a tall stand with rows of benches.

Plato led Jack through the crowd and up the steps to their seats.

“Wow, thanks,” said Jack.

He had a great view.

The Olympic parade had already started. Musicians playing pipes were at the front. Behind them marched the Olympic athletes—the best in all of Greece.

Jack sighed as he watched the parade going around the track.
Annie would really love this
, he thought.

“The athletes in front are the runners,” said Plato. “Foot races are the oldest event of the Olympics.”

Jack pulled out his notebook and wrote:

“Behind the runners are the boxers,” said Plato. “They’re wearing special gloves and bronze helmets.”

Jack wrote:

“Behind them are the wrestlers,” said Plato.

And Jack wrote:

When Jack looked up again, he saw a soldier staring up at him from the sidelines.

The soldier was dressed like the actor from the outdoor theater. He had on a long cape and a red-crested helmet that covered most of his face.

But something was strange. This soldier was short—

“Here come the discus and javelin throwers,” said Plato, “and then the men in armor.”

“What do they do?” asked Jack.

“They race wearing full armor,” said Plato.

Jack smiled to himself. He knew Annie would think that was funny.

He wrote in his notebook:

Jack finished writing.

He looked back at the short soldier.

“In a moment, the chariot races will begin,” said Plato. “Winning a chariot race is the greatest honor of the games.”

Jack just nodded. He was still studying the short soldier, who seemed to be looking back at him.

Suddenly, a small hand came out from the soldier’s cape. The hand gave a little wave.

Jack gasped. It was Annie’s hand waving!

The short soldier was

Jack stared in horror at Annie. She must have borrowed a costume from the theater!

He remembered Plato’s words:
A girl will get in terrible trouble if she tries to attend the Olympic Games

Jack shook his head at her and pointed his finger, as if to say,
Get out of here!

But Annie just waved at him again.

Jack kept shaking his head at Annie. He even shook his fist.

Annie turned back to watch the race.

“It’s not a joke!” Jack shouted.

Plato turned and looked at him.

“Of course not,” said Plato. “We take the games very seriously.”

Jack felt his face grow hot. He glared at Annie’s back.

Just then the trumpet sounded.

“The chariots are taking their places,” said Plato.

Jack saw the dozens of chariots lined up on the race track. Each chariot was pulled by four horses.

Jack glanced back at Annie. She was looking up at him, pointing at the chariots.

The trumpet sounded again.

The horses took off!

The crowd went wild. They were cheering and screaming and stamping their feet.

Clouds of dust rose up as the chariots raced around the track.

Annie turned back to watch the race. She began jumping up and down.

“Go! Go! Go!” she shouted.

A few people began staring at the strange small soldier with the high-pitched voice.

BOOK: Hour of the Olympics
13.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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