Nike was the goddess of victory in the religion of the ancient Greeks. Frequently associated with Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and Zeus, the king of the gods, Nike often appears with wings in ancient works of art and is sometimes portrayed as flying down to honor the winner of a contest by giving him a wreath, a recognition of his victory. In addition to being able to fly, Nike also possessed the same powers as other goddesses, such as shape-shifting and being able to foresee future events.

Nike and Athletic Competition

Because Nike was the goddess of victory, athletes often prayed to her in hopes of winning athletic contests. But her power was less about determining the victor in a competition than it was about honoring the victor or victors. She was particularly linked with the ancient Olympics. Over time, her association with victory expanded from the athletic realm to other areas, such as battles and the legal arena.