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Page 13

Leaping Contests

 

    But near at hand is a more pleasing contest. Youths of the ephebus age are practicing leaping. They have no springboard, no leaping pole, but only a pair of curved metal dumb-bells to aid them. One after another their lithe brown bodies, shining with the fresh olive oil, come forward on a lightning run up the little mound of earth, then fly gracefully out across the soft sands. There is much shouting and good-natured rivalry. As each lad leaps, an eager attendant marks his distance with a line drawn by the pickaxe. The lines gradually extend ever farther from the mound. The rivalry is keen. Finally, there is one leap that far exceeds the rest.[6] A merry crowd swarms around the blushing victor. A grave middle-aged man takes the ivy crown from his head, and puts it upon the happy youth. "Your father will take joy in you," he says as the knot breaks up.

 

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