Pausanias noted that for about half a century the only event at the ancient Greek Olympic festival was the race that comprised one length of the stade at Olympia, where the word "stadium" originated.

    "Stadium" comes from the Greek word "stadion" (στάδιον), a measure of length equalling the length of 600 human feet. As feet are of variable length the exact length of a stadion depends on the exact length adopted for 1 foot at a given place and time. Although in modern terms 1 stadion = 600 ft (180 m), in a given historical context.

    Explore major stadiums