Astylos of Croton

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Astylos of Croton (Ἄστυλος/Ἀστύαλος ὁ Κροτωνιάτης) was an athlete from ancient Croton who starred in the Olympic Games of the 5th century BC. He was mentioned in records from General Pausanias that claim he excelled in three successive Olympic games from 488 to 480 BC, in the running events of stade and diaulos. Diodorus Siculus calls him Astylos of Syracuse and uses his third victory to date the Persian invasion in 480 BC.."[1]

Astylos won all his six wreaths in the Olympics. In Italy Astylos was famous for equaling the achievements of previous champion athlete Chionis of Sparta. Astylos not only matched the achievements of Chionis, in that he won on three separate occasions the stade and diaulos events, he also won the hoplitodromos event, which was a running race with full armored suits.

Despite his fame, Astylos died a lonely man. When he agreed to participate in the 484 and 480 BC Olympic games as a Syracusan citizen in honor of the tyrant Hieron, the people of Croton expelled him from the city and demolished his statue in their city. It is also said that Astylos was bribed by officials in Syracuse to compete under their name, giving Astylos the unusual claim-to-fame of being the world's first free agent. His house was also turned into a prison as a sign of disrespect, while his family also renounced him.

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  1. ^ Siculus, Diodorus, Historical Library, University of Chicago, 11.1.2 .