10 Weird Traditions From The Ancient Olympic Games

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7. The Thong That Just Covers The Tip

They were almost entirely naked, anyway. Some athletes indulged in one little allowance: the kynodesme. This was something sort of like a jockstrap or a thong, except that it covered nothing but the tip of the penis. It would be tied around the athlete’s waist, with a tiny little bow around the penis as a decorative flourish.

This wasn’t out of modesty—in fact, it didn’t even cover up your genitals. All it covered was the foreskin, which, to the Greeks, was an incredibly valuable body part. They viewed long, draping foreskins as the epitome of handsomeness. Greek art is full of men with absurdly long foreskins. They show up so often that historians aren’t even sure if these are paintings of an ideal man or if that’s just really what ancient Greek genitals looked like.

Sometimes, the kynodesme had an aesthetic value. Some were elongated to make the foreskin look bigger than it really was. It was such a popular look that some people wore them at home instead of just at the games.

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