1. Pre-Listening. Make sure you know these words and expressions:
Ritual sacrifice – a religious act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to a deity.
Truce – an agreement between enemies or opponents to stop fighting or arguing for a certain time.
Trade fair – an exhibition where manufacturers show their products to other people in industry and try to get business.
To undergo – to experience or to be subjected to.
The right moral fibre – here: the right moral attitude and behaviour.
Nude – naked.
To swear an oath – to make a solemn statement or promise undertaking to do something or affirming that something is the case.
To abide by – accept or act in accordance with (a rule, decision, or recommendation).
To commit a/no sacrilege – to commit a/no violation or misuse of what is regarded as sacred.
To be riddled with – to be full of.
To take a shortcut – to take a quicker way.
To enhance – intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of.
Strychnine – a bitter and highly poisonous compound obtained from nux vomica and related plants.
Of lucrative corporate sponsorship – a profitable support by a large company or group.
To bestow – to confer or present (an honour, right, or gift).
2. Listening. Listen to the text about the Olympic Games (“The Olympic Games Then and Now” by Craig Duncan) and say which information from it is new for you.
3. Listen again and finish these sentences:
1. In 2004 the Olympic Games returned to its home in Greece, …
2. Similar festivals had been organised for at least two or three centuries prior to this, but 776 BC saw the start of …
3. Sport was only one part of the festival; there were also …
4. The early athletic competitions were only running races, but later other sports such as …
5. Anyone wishing to compete had to …
6. Even if someone was physically fit enough, they …
7. At the start of the games, every competitor had to …
8. Cheating, though, is almost as old as the games itself: records of the ancient Greek games are riddled with tales of athletes …
9. Today, athletes compete primarily for the honour of being …
10. Similarly, while ancient Greek athletes were officially only competing for the honour of being awarded …
11. Even in the earliest Olympics, sporting competition went alongside …
12. The “Zappian Olympics”, as they became known after wealthy organiser Evangelos Zappas, were the bridge between the ancient and modern Olympics, and …
13. The sports events were highly popular, but in terms of funding and regularity were of a lower priority than …
14. However, the sporting side of the games were hugely popular with the public, and the level of support meant that, in … .
4. Follow-Up. Answer the following questions.
1. When did the first recorded Olympic festival take place?
2. What did the Olympic festival include in ancient times? Could citizens of different city states freely attend the Olympics?
3. What sports event was the earliest one?
4. Who could compete in the Games? Why did the athletes compete nude?
5. What ritual was provided at the beginning of the Games then and what happens before them now?
6. What sorts of cheatings in the Games could be distinguished then and which ones can be observed and discovered nowadays? Describe Fred Lorz and Thomas Hicks’ cases.
7. What is the difference between the awards of the ancient and modern Games?
8. What event became “the bridge” between the ancient and modern Olympics? When did it happen and what was decided by the Greek politicians then?
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