Thursday, August 9, 2012

History of Olympic games and some interesting facts of the games

The Modern Olympic Games began from the year 1896 and were held in Athens, Greece, the place of birth of Olympics. 

It was the efforts of French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin and others that led to the revival of the Olympic event. The Olympic Games have since been held successfully twenty five times, with the last Olympic Games also happening in Athens in 2004. 

The Games were successfully held after a gap of four years but it was only on three occasions that the Olympic Games could not be held. These were the warring periods in the history of modern world. In the year 1916, 1940 and 1944 the Olympic Games could not take place due to the destruction and devastation caused by the 1st and 2nd World Wars.  

Given below is the chronology of the modern Olympic Games.
  • Athens, 1896 - The first Modern Olympic Games were held in the place of birth of the Olympics.
  • Paris, 1900 - Women took part for the first time in the history of modern Olympics.
  • St Louis, 1904 - These were the first modern Olympic Games, where gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded for first, second and third prize respectively.
  • London, 1908 - Athletes from 22 nations represented their respective countries at the Olympic Games.
  • Stockholm, 1912 - At these games, for the first time competitors came from all five continents symbolized in the Olympic rings.
  • Antwerp, 1920 - The Olympic Games at Antwerp, Belgium had several firsts. For the first time the Olympic oath was uttered, the Olympic flag hoisted and doves released to symbolize peace.
  • Paris, 1924 - The VIII Olympiad were the last ones to be organized under the presidency of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of modern Olympics.
  • Amsterdam, 1928 - These games were the first to bear the name Summer Olympic Games and the Olympic torch was also lit for the first time.
  • Los Angeles, 1932 - Colombia and the Republic of China made their first appearances at the Olympic Games.
  • Berlin, 1936 - Jesse Owens, an African-American athlete in the times of racial discrimination, became the star of the Games and won four gold medals in the sprint and long jump events.
  • London, 1948 - The XIV Olympiad was officially opened by King George VI.
  • Helsinki, 1952 - At the 1952 Olympic Games, for the first time a team from USSR participated.
  • Melbourne / Stockholm, 1956 - The Olympic Games were celebrated in Melbourne, Australia. However the equestrian events were held five months earlier in Stockholm, Sweden due to quarantine regulations in Australia.
  • Rome, 1960 - At the Rome Olympics, Soviets won 15 of the 16 possible medals in women's gymnastics.
  • Tokyo, 1964 - Sixteen nations made their first appearance in the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Mexico, 1968 - These are the only Olympic Games held in Latin America. Also at these games, East and West Germany send their separate teams for the first time.
  • Munich, 1972 - The Games were marred by the Munich massacre. On September 5, 1972 Palestinian terrorists belonging to the Black September Organization abducted eleven Israeli athletes from the Games Village and subsequently killed them.
  • Montreal, 1976 - The Games were officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and several of the members of the royal family of Britain were present on the occasion. Also owing to the Munich massacre, the security arrangements were very tight.
  • Moscow, 1980 - The USA boycotted the Games as a protest to USSR's invasion of Afghanistan.
  • Los Angeles ,1984 - Owing to the American boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games, Soviet and other Eastern bloc countries including Cuba, East Germany and others also boycotted the Los Angeles Games.
  • Seoul, 1988 - Guam, Maldives, Cook Islands, Aruba, American Samoa, Vanuatu, Saint Vincent, Grenadines and South Yemen participated in the Olympic Games for the first time at the Seoul Olympics.
  • Barcelona ,1992 - With the exception of Afghanistan, it was for the first time since 1972 Munich Olympics that all the IOC countries participated in the Games.
  • Atlanta, 1996 - Twenty four countries made their Olympic debut this year. The Games were also affected by violence as on July 27, 1996 the Centennial Olympic Park was bombed killing two and wounding 111 others.
  • Sydney, 2000 - The 'Millennium Games' or the 'Games of the New Millennium' generated much interest world wide and the host city Sydney also won the 'Pierre de Coubertin Trophy', in recognition of the collaboration and happiness shown by the people of Sydney during the event.
  • Athens, 2004 - At the Athens Olympic Games all the 202 nations affiliated to the International Olympic Committee participated at the Games. The Athenians put up a spectacular cultural show and fireworks during the opening and closing ceremonies.
  • Beijing, 2008 - The Beijing Olympics were held from August 8th to August 24th. The Games were co-hosted by six other cities of People's Republic of China.
  • London, 2012 - The 2012 Summer Olympics (the Games of the XXX Olympiad) are held from 27 July 2012 and will be held up to 12 August 2012. The London 2012 Olympic bid was announced as the winner of the bidding process on 6 July 2005, following unsuccessful bid attempts for previous Olympics by Manchester and Birmingham. The games are currently under way.

Olympic symbols

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Olympic symbols are icons of each olympic part of the role of the flags and 
symbols used by the International Olympic Committee to promote the Olympic 
Games. Some - such as the flame, fanfare, and theme - are more common 
during Olympic competition,but others, such as the flag, can be seen throughout the year.

Olympic Motto:

The Olympic motto is the hendiatris Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger". 
The motto was proposed by Pierre de Coubertin on the creation of the International Olympic Committeein 1894. 
De Coubertin borrowed it from his friend Henri Didon, a Dominican priest who, amongst other things, was an 
athletics enthusiast. The motto was introduced in 1924 at the Olympic Games in Paris
The motto was also the name of an Olympic history journal from 1995 to 1997, when it was renamed the 
A more informal but well known motto, also introduced by De Coubertin, is "The most important thing is not to 
win but to take part!" De Coubertin got this motto from a sermon by the Bishop of Pennsylvania during the 1908 
London Games

Olympic rings

The symbol of the Olympic Games is composed of five interlocking rings, coloured blue, yellow, black, green, 
and red on a white field. This was originally designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of 
the modern Olympic Games. According to de Coubertin, the ring colours with the white background stand for 
those colors that appeared on all the national flags that competed in the Olympic games at that time. 
Upon its initial introduction, de Coubertin stated the following in the August, 1912 edition of Olympique:
The five Olympic rings represent the five parts of the world involved in the Olympics and were designed in 1912, 
adopted in June 1914 and debuted at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.
"...the six colours [including the flag’s white background] thus combined reproduce the colours of all the 
nations, with no exception. The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tri- colours 
of France, England and America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the yellow and red of Spain next to 
the novelties of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan and new China. Here is truly an international symbol."

The current view of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is that the symbol "reinforces the idea" that the 
Olympic Movement is international and welcomes all countries of the world to join.[7] As can be read in the 
Olympic Charter, the Olympic symbol represents the union of the five regions of the world and the meeting of 
athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games. However, no continent is represented by any specific
 ring. Prior to 1951, the official handbook stated that each colour corresponded to a particular continent: blue for 
Europe, yellow for Asia, black for Africa, green for Australia and Oceania and red for America 
(North and South considered as a single continent); this was removed because there was no evidence 
that Coubertin had intended it (the quote above was probably an afterthought).


Created by Pierre De Coubertin in 1914.

The Olympic flag ... has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the centre: blue, yellow, black,  
green and red ... This design is symbolic ; it represents the five inhabited continents of the world, united 
by Olympism, while the six colors are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.
 Pierre De Coubertin (1931)

There are specific Olympic flags that are displayed by cities that will be hosting 

the next Olympic games. During each Olympic closing ceremony in what is 

traditionally known as the Antwerp Ceremony,the flag is passed from the 

mayor of one host city to the next host, where it will then be taken to the new 

host and displayed at city hall. These flags should not be confused with the larger 

Olympic flags designed and created specifically for each games, which are flown 

over the host stadium and then retired. Because there is no specific flag for this 

purpose, the flags flown over the stadiums generally have subtle differences, 

including minor color variations, and, more noticeably, the presence (or lack) of 

white outlines around each ring.

Flame and torch relay
Greece to the Olympic venue began with the Berlin Games in 1936. Months 
before the Games are held, the Olympic Flame is lit on a torch, with the 
rays of the Sun concentrated by a parabolic reflector, at the site of the 
Ancient Olympics in Olympia, Greece. The torch is then taken out of Greece, 
most often to be taken around the country or continent where the Games 
are held. The Olympic torch is carried by athletes, leaders, celebrities and 
ordinary people alike, and at times in unusual conditions, such as being 
electronically transmitted via satellite for Montreal 1976, or submerged 
underwater without being extinguished for Sydney 2000. On the final day 
of the torch relay, the day of the Opening Ceremony, the Flame reaches 
the main stadium and is used to light a cauldron situated in a prominent 
part of the venue to signify the beginning of the Games.


The Olympic medals awarded to winners are another symbol associated with the 
Olympic games. The medals are made of gold-plated silver (commonly described 
as gold medals), silver, or bronze, and awarded to the top 3 finishers in a particular 
event. Each medal for an Olympiad has a common design, decided upon by the 
organizers for the particular games. From 1928 until 2000, the obverse side of the
 medals contained an image of Nike, the traditional goddess of victory, holding a 
palm in her left hand and a winner's crown in her right. This design was created 
by Giuseppe Cassioli. For each Olympic games, the reverse side as well as the labels 
for each Olympiad changed, reflecting the host of the games.
In 2004, the obverse side of the medals changed to make more explicit reference to 
the Greek character of the games. In this design, the goddess Nike flies into the 
Panathenic stadium, reflecting the renewal of the games. The design was by 
Greek jewelry designer Elena Vots.
The London 2012 Summer Olympic medals are shown at the Royal Mint in 
Llantrisant, South Wales, Wales, in this Oct. 27, 2011 photo.