Leonidas of Rhodes

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For other uses, see Leonidas (disambiguation).

Leonidas of Rhodes (Ancient Greek: Λεωνίδας; born 188 BCE) was one of the most famous Olympic runners. He was acclaimed as the greatest sprinter of all time.[1] Competing in the Olympic Games of 164 BCE, he captured the crown in three separate foot races — the stadion, the diaulos, and the hoplitodromos. He repeated this feat in the next three subsequent Olympics, in 160 BCE, in 156 BCE, and finally in 152 BCE at the age of 36. Leonidas's lifetime record of twelve Olympic crowns was unmatched in not only the ancient world, but all time.[2]

Leonidas was renowned not only for his unsurpassed number of victories but for his versatility as a runner. His favored races required speed and strength in differing degrees; the stadion and the diaulos, 200-yard and 400-yard races respectively, were best suited to sprinters, while the hoplitodromos, a diaulos performed with bronze armor and shield, required more muscular strength and endurance. Philostratus the Athenian wrote in his Gymnastikos that Leonidas's versatility made all previous theories of runners' training and body types obsolete.[3]


  1. ^ Michael Lahanas. "Famous Ancient Greek Athletes". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Findling, John E.; Pelle, Kimberly D. (2004). Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement. Greenwood Press. pp. xxxv. ISBN 0-313-32278-3. 
  3. ^ Philostratus II. Gymnastikos. p. 33.