On the Tenth Day of Christmas, my Goddess gave to me…
ten lords leaping.
It takes a lot of dedicated training to leap over those hurdles, vault over those bars, high-jump your way to greater heights. I admire the folks who do – maybe because I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. Sure, I enjoy hiking, swimming, and horseback riding…but I doubt I could ever earn a gold medal at any of these.
So I’m dedicating today’s blog post to the athletes who can, who have, and who continue to strive to do so.
And to the goddess who symbolizes their efforts:
Nike is the Greek goddess of victory, daughter of the Titan giant Pallas and the goddess Styx, who ruled the river of the Underworld. It is Nike who flies around the battlefields, rewarding the victors with glory and fame.
And it is Nike who crowns the victors of sport, recognizing them for their efforts.
Thus it is hardly surprising that thousands of years later, the modern Olympic Games would depict a likeness of Nike on many of their medals – a concept that began with the very first Olympics in 1896 and was used in several of the early medals, before being adopted as an on-going trend of the Summer Olympics medal in 1928 with the Trionfo design of Giuseppe Cassioli. This design showed a likeness of Nike as a main focus, holding a winner’s crown and palm, with a depiction of the Colosseum in the background.
While the medal has seen some changes in recent years, Nike still continues to inspire the design, as seen here in the medal of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London:
It is interesting to note that Nike is one of the few deities of the Greek pantheon who retains her wings…many of the other gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus had shed theirs by Classical times, but Nike continues to viewed as the Winged Goddess of Victory.
And of course, the patron of running shoes.