Originally created 05/06/04

Archaeologists approve shot put in Ancient Olympia



ATHENS, Greece -- Archaeologists have approved a request by Olympic organizers to stage the shot put competitions at the site of the ancient games, the Culture Ministry said Wednesday.

The decision by the ministry's Central Archaeological Council, which reviewed the issue late Tuesday, cleared the way for the events to be held in Ancient Olympia, where the flame lighting ceremony takes place for each games.

Premier Costas Caramanlis, also serving as culture minister, must approve the council's decision.

There was no official date for the final decision, but no snags were expected because organizers have already started planning for the scheduled Aug. 18 events for men and women.

Athletes will arrive two days before the competition. They will stay and train at the modern Olympic Academy near the ancient stadium, about 200 miles southwest of Athens.

Spectators will watch the shot put from grassy slopes around the ancient field.

The Olympics were started in Olympia in 776 B.C. and held every four years until the Roman Emperor Theodosius abolished them in 393 A.D. after Christianity took root and he deemed the games pagan.