The chariot races were dangerous affairs. The charioteer drove his team of four horses later, team of two with a whip. The course covered 12 circuits of the hippodrome- a distance of some 14 Km along a rutted track on unsprung- vehicles a very rough ride. Accidents were common, and it required incredible skill to negotiate at high speed the tight bends, the crashed chariots, and the bodies of fallen opponents. The field at start might comprise 40 to 50 competitors; on one occasion, according to the poet Pindar, only a single chariot reached the finish.
The wrestling events were contests of considerable skill. The aim was to throw the adversary three times to the ground so that his shoulders came into contact with the earth. As in modern judo, deft balance counted as much as brute strength.