Students in Ancient Athletics class host the inaugural Trinity Olympics

Participants will be able to compete for first place against teams of participants in the same class at UTSA

Field day memories don’t have to stay in elementary school anymore; Trinity’s Ancient Athletics class is hosting the first Tiger Olympics in which students can compete in games against the University of Texas at San Antonio on April 22 at 10 a.m. on Trinity’s football field.

The idea was spearheaded by Ann Morgan, visiting assistant professor of classical studies, who teaches the Ancient Athletics class.

“A former colleague is teaching the same class at UTSA. We talked about having students compete in a mock Olympics,” Morgan said.

The idea was later brought up in her class in which it became an integral part of the course.

“We started with Greece and we went over how the Olympics started and events that they would have. We also studied Roman athletic competitions and how they took things from other cultures and created their own thing,” said senior Samiah Razak,  who is enrolled in the Ancient Athletics class.

Much like in the ancient tradition, the Tiger Olympics alters the event to make it unique.

“There were certain events that were pretty standard across festivals, like foot races. Each festival would make it their own by doing things that represented who they were. So by tweaking the events, we still kind of stay in the tradition of ancient athletics,” Morgan said.

Ancient events like chariot racing and  javelin throwing are replaced with wheelbarrow racing and pool noodle throwing. Other events include an egg-and-spoon relay, arm wrestling and a rap battle, as songs were typically performed at these games.  

Players are additionally able to purchase “curses” to place on the opposing team.

“One of the things my colleague is working on is curse tablets and his students are going to have a table there where you can go and put a curse on one of your competitors and that will cause them something like a two-second delay in a foot race or a foot off of the distance of their frisbee. So it’s going to penalize them somehow,” Morgan said.

The Tiger Olympics is wholly organized and planned by all of the students in the Ancient Athletics class.

“We based them off of traditions that happened in both the ancient Olympics and Roman spectacles and things that we had read that sounded interesting or obscure,” said Sarah Van Alsten, a junior who is also taking the Ancient Athletics class.

In order to participate, students may sign up individually or as a team using the registration link on the event’s Facebook page.

“People don’t have to be in a team to come and enter, but if they want to be part of a team, like in a sorority or something, they’re welcome to come do that,” Van Alsten said.

In order to register, students only have to come up with a team name and then select the events that they wish to participate in via the official Facebook page for the event.