The term "stadium" comes from the Greek unit of length stade. One stade equals 600 feet, which is about 185-192 metres. This was the length of the first stadiums, like the one in Olympia. 

Ancient Greek stadiums were primarily designed for sport events: gymnastics, running, javelin and discus throw, wrestling and others. 

The original Greek stadium has a rectangular shape. During the Roman Empire one of the ends of the stadium became round. The most famous Ancient Greek stadiums are situated in Olympia, Delphi and Epidaurus.

The stadiums were oriented North-South along their axis to prevent the dazzlement of the competitors. This trend is preserved even today.