A new PBS documentary on the history of the Olympics captures the drama—and casualties—of the Greek combat sports. The Real Olympics was written and produced by Antony Thomas, whose controversial film The South African Experience caused the government of his native South Africa to ban him from the country in 1977. The ban went the way of the Apartheid regime, and indeed, much of the action in The Real Olympics was filmed in South Africa, where 35 local young athletes were recruited to star in the documentary. In May 2003, I flew to South Africa to train the actors, not only in the art of the discus, javelin and long jump, but also in the intricacies of the pancratium. Among the many sequences in the two-hour documentary is a reenactment of the final moments of the life of Arrhichion, who in the sixth century B.C.E. spectacularly died while winning his pancratium bout at Olympia. The actor playing Arrhichion shows how the venerated athlete, trapped by his opponent’s standing body scissors and stranglehold, managed to dislocate his opponent’s ankle while collapsing lifeless to the ground. Despite the scene’s realism, no actors were injured during the filming!—M.B.P.