The period before the games
Those who wished to officially participate in the Olympic
train in their country for at least ten months before the
games. According to the rules, the athletes should reach the
city of Elis at least a month before the games for further
training and to make the necessary arrangements for their
participation to the games.
The games were announced by the spondophoroi, who were citizens of Elis, crowned with olive-tree branches and holding the staff of the herald. They, as guarantees of the holy truce toured to all the Greek cities in order to declare the interruption of the hostilities for three months.
Two days before the official opening of the games, a procession of the athletes and the Hellanodikai (Greek judges) started from Elis. Following the Sacred Way that led to Olympia, they stopped at the spring Piera for a ritualistic sacrifice and spent the night at Letrinoi. In the following morning the procession was received by a boisterous and lively crowd that had assembled in the sanctuary of Olympia.