The Olympian had its genesis in two passions of mine, the classical world and sport. The history and culture of ancient Greece have, for the longest time, held a firm grip over my imagination to the extent that I studied for a degree in Classical Studies in my spare time. Boldly, I assert that countless others are also held firmly in that same grip yet realise it not for the power of culture is, on the one hand, powerfully pervasive, but, on the other hand, so very subtle that many cannot articulate its manifestations. My bold assertion can be evidenced in the passion for the cultural institutions of the Western world such as theater, democracy and athletic competitions, all of which have their origins in ancient Greece, that so many people have yet take for granted as always having somehow existed.
Courage. Love. Victory.
Sport has always held a place of great importance in my life, and though their were great spans of time when I wasn't able to indulge my desire for this great passion, yet never far it was from yearning body and mind. For sport allows us to transcend our mental and physical limitations and embrace that sense of excellence which the ancient Greeks so admired when you are the best you can be. The Olympian brings together these great passions.
Beyond measure is the glory for the victor at Olympia.
The story is set in the year 424 B.C., during the sacred Olympic truce. Though the ceasefire in the long running Peloponnesian war holds between the rival city-states of Athens and Sparta, the fierce hostility still continues. In the fervent preparation for the Games, disaster befalls Athens when Dion, one of the high-born Olympic hopefuls, breaks his leg in training for the illustrious foot-race. In his place, Ariston, the indomitable former Olympic champion and trainer, chooses Kleon, a gifted athlete but plagued with self-doubt who is the son of a poor immigrant potter from Sparta, to run Athens. Cliton, an arrogant aristocrat and main sponsor of the Athenian athletes is enraged and conspires with Agis, the proud Spartan king, to betray Athens.
For his glorious deed we praise the valiant, and in his triumphant company exalt him with great honours.
The pressure mounts. Ariston's family learns of his promise of voluntary exile should Kleon lose at the Olympics; Kleon's father passes away leaving his family at risk of falling into debt and servitude and, just days before Kleon's race in which Leontychides the vain Spartan prince also runs, Ariston dies when an old wound ruptures. On his deathbed, he asks the distraught Kleon to marry Kalliste, his high-minded daughter who has run away from home to be with them at Olympia. Kleon and Kalliste agree but will their love give him the courage to win and so save Athens from tyranny, his family from slavery and honour his mentor's dying wish?
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"To learn to forgive where others hate is to become a better man - it's the essence of an Olympian."
"The place where men become gods - Olympia!"
"Stand up and take action. You are the creator of your destiny!"
"Your king expects great things of you, but remember this: to lose is an injury to Sparta. Only victory or death will do."
"Go back home and lick your wounds, Spartans! You lost to my son who is a better man."
"I have supervised the training to the best of my ability but as to whether they have the desire to win - that is for each man to decide...it is the will to win that makes a champion."
A one-page synopsis in .PDF format is available to download below.