The “hysplex” (5th c. B.C.) – The first athletic mechanism

It was a starting mechanism used in Ancient Greece during the Olympics and other athletic competitions in order to prevent the false start of the athletes. It consisted of two vertical poles fixed to the starting line, bearing two horizontal
ropes (one at the height of the knees and the other at the height of the athletes’ abdomen). When the referee pulled the rope of ring latches that released the poles, they fell with momentum on the ground –because of the force of the twisted string at the base– thus permitting the start of the race.
SOURCES: “Hysplex: The starting mechanism in ancient stadia, P. Valananis”, “Turns and Lanes in the Greek Stadium, S. Miller”

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