The ultimate test of athletic prowess, ability, skill and fitness. The Games were originally invented by the Ancient Greeks but the modern games are just over a century old. The Olympic Motto is "Citius. Altius. Fortius" which translates into English as "Faster. Higher. Stronger." and amply demonstrates the ethos with which the modern Games were founded.

They are held every four years in different countries around the world, but have been marred by Cold War political bickering in the past. Originally the modern Olympics were strictly for amateur competitors, but in the 1980s this rule was relaxed and eventually withdrawn altogether, as it was being widely flouted by athletes exploiting loopholes in the regulations.

The Olympic Symbol is five interlinked rings, coloured so that at least one colour appears on the flag of every nation on the planet.

Modern era of Olympic Games

This is:    Olympic Summer Games 
Go to:      Olympic Winter Games    Ancient Olympic Games

The modern version of the ancient Olympic Games was an initiative of the Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin. Data for Olympic summer games:

Ancient Olympic games - Greece
Notes: The athletes competed nude. Imagine what that would do to TV-ratings today...

Olympics 1896 - Athens, Greece
No. of countries: 14
No. of athletes: 255 - only men
No. of events: 43
Notes: The marathon was run between the city of Marathon and Athens.

Olympics 1900 - Paris, France
No. of countries: 24
No. of athletes: 1225 - (1206 m + 19 w)
No. of events: 86
Notes: These games lasted for five months. First time women were allowed to participate, against the will of M de Coubertin.

Olympics 1904 - St. Louis, United States
No. of countries: 13
No. of athletes: 689 - (681 m + 8 w)
No. of events: 89
Notes: Fist time gold, silver and bronze medals were given to the three best athletes in each event.

Olympics 1906 - Athens, Greece
No. of countries: 22
No. of athletes: ?
No. of events: ?
Notes: Extra games as a 10 year celebration of the games. Later declared as unofficial games by the IOC.

Olympics 1908 - London, England
No. of countries: 22
No. of athletes: 2035 - (1999 m + 36 w)
No. of events: 107
Notes: The winner of the marathon was disqualified for having been helped over the finish line. Tough luck!

Olympics 1912 - Stockholm, Sweden
No. of countries: 28
No. of athletes: 2547 - (2490 m + 57 w)
No. of events: 102
Notes: Decathlete Jim Thorpe was disqualified since he had been a professional baseball player. The gold medal was given back to his family in 1983, 30 years after his death.

1916 - No games, World War I.

Olympics 1920 - Antwerp, Belgium
No. of countries: 29
No. of athletes: 2668 - (2591 m + 77 w)
No. of events: 155
Notes: The flag with the five Olympic rings was introduced.

Olympics 1924 - Paris, France
No. of countries: 44
No. of athletes: 3092 - (2956 m + 136 w)
No. of events: 126
Notes: Swimming was the most popular event, with American Johnny Weissmuller as the star. 

Olympics 1928 - Amsterdam, Holland
No. of countries: 46
No. of athletes: 3014 - (2724 m + 290 w)
No. of events: 126
Notes: The Olympic fire was introduced. Coca-Cola sponsored...

Olympics 1932 - Los Angeles, United States
No. of countries: 37
No. of athletes: 1408 - (1281 m + 127 w)
No. of events: 117
Notes: Olympic Village concept introduced.

Olympics 1936 - Berlin, Germany
No. of countries: 49
No. of athletes: 4066 - (3738 m + 328 w)
No. of events: 129
Notes: Jesse Owens, United States, irritated Adolf Hitler, Germany, by winning four gold in track and field.

1940 and 1944 - No games, World War II

Olympics 1948 - London, England
No. of countries: 59
No. of athletes: 4099 - (3714 m + 385 w)
No. of events: 136
Notes: Germany and Japan were not welcome in London after the war. 

Olympics 1952 - Helsinki, Finland
No. of countries: 69
No. of athletes: 4925 - (4407 m + 518 w)
No. of events: 149
Notes: The first Cold War games.

Olympics 1956 - Melbourne, Australia
No. of countries: 67
No. of athletes: 3184 - (2813 m + 371 w)
No. of events: 145
Notes: First games in Asia. Hungary was invaded by Soviet this year, and when the two countries met in water polo, the police had to stop the match to save the life of the players.

2005.10.2@18:28 The Debutante says re Olympic Games: It might interest you that the equestrian events of the 1956 games were actually held in Stockholm, because the horses could not be safely transported to Australia!

Olympics 1960 - Rome, Italy
No. of countries: 83
No. of athletes: 5348 - (4738 m + 610 w)
No. of events: 150
Notes: American Cassius Clay won a boxing gold and went on as a professional. Abeke Bikila of Ethiopia won the marathon, barefooted.

Olympics 1964 - Tokyo, Japan
No. of countries: 93
No. of athletes: 5140 - (4457 m + 683 w)
No. of events: 163
Notes: Several athletes were excluded for having participated in the rivaling games Games of the New Emerging Forces (GANEFO). 

Olympics 1968 - Mexico City, Mexico
No. of countries: 112
No. of athletes: 5530 - (4750 m + 780 w)
No. of events: 172
Notes: American Bob Beamon jumps 8.90 meters in long-jump. Dick Fosbury of the United States shocks the world by jumping high-jump backwards! Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their clenched fists to their flag, as a part of the Black Panther movement.

Olympics 1972 - Munich, West Germany
No. of countries: 121
No. of athletes: 7123 - (6065 m + 1058 w)
No. of events: 195
Notes: Terrorists kill 2 Israeli athletes. Mark Spitz of the United States wins 7 gold, swimming.

Olympics 1976 - Montreal, Canada
No. of countries: 92
No. of athletes: 6028 - (4781 m + 1247 w)
No. of events: 198
Notes: 14-year old Nadia Comaneci of Romania becomes the first gymnast ever to receive a 10 point score. Boris Onisjenko of the Soviet Union is disqualified for having cheated in the fencing. The games were boycotted by Africa.

Olympics 1980 - Moscow, Soviet Union
No. of countries: 80
No. of athletes: 5217 - (4092 m + 1125 w)
No. of events: 203
Notes: The games were boycotted by many western/NATO countries.

Olympics 1984 - Los Angeles, United States
No. of countries: 140
No. of athletes: 6797 - (5230 m + 1567 w)
No. of events: 221
Notes: American Carl Lewis wins four gold in track and field. China participated for the first time since 1948.

Olympics 1988 - Seoul, South Korea
No. of countries: 159
No. of athletes: 8465 - (6279 m + 2186 w)
No. of events: 237
Notes: Ben Johnson of Canada runs 100 meters in 9,79 but is later found guilty of doping. Flo-Jo of the US wins 100 and 200 meters, crushing the old records.

Olympics 1992 - Barcelona, Spain
No. of countries: 169
No. of athletes: 9367 - (6659 m + 2708 w)
No. of events: 257
Notes: American Dream Team in basketball.

Olympics 1996 - Atlanta, United States
No. of countries: 197
No. of athletes: 10320 - (6797 m + 3523 w)
No. of events: 271
Notes: Coca Cola games. Alexander Karelin of Russia wins his third wrestling gold, this time without losing one single point.

Olympics 2000 - Sydney, Australia
No. of countries: 200
No. of athletes: - (m + w)
No. of events: 296
Notes: Aleksandr Karelin sensationally lost the final in wrestling, his first loss ever as a senior in a tournament.

Olympics 2004 - Athens, Greece
No. of countries: 200 (est)
No. of athletes: 11000 (est) (m + w)
No. of events: 296
Notes: More to come.

Olympics 2008 - Beijing, China
No. of countries:
No. of athletes: (m + w)
No. of events:
Notes: More to come.

/msg me if you have corrections or suggestions.

Citius. Altius. Fortius.

It is the inspiration of the Olympic Games that drives people not only to compete but to improve, and to bring lasting spiritual and moral benefits to the athlete and inspiration to those lucky enough to witness the athletic dedication.
- Herb Elliott

The Olympic Games are generally regarded as the pinnacle of athletic competition throughout the world. Held every 2 years, the games alternate between the Olympic Summer Games, and the Olympic Winter Games, with the summer games being held in years divisible by 4, and the winter games in the even years between them.

Organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the games generally last a little over two weeks, with time for the hundreds of events in the wide variety of sports played at the games.

The games are the 2nd most watched event in the world, with around the clock coverage on television, to a boatload of coverage in other forms of media. And trust me, it'd have to be a pretty big boat.

The city / country chosen to host the games is chosen years in advance, to give adequate time for the immense amount of preparation required to put on an event of this magnitude. The thousands of visitors to the games will spend millions of dollars at local hotels, restaurants, shops and what have you. Not only that, but the lasting benefits to tourism that such world wide exposure will bring, and the top grade sports facilities stick around too. Not to mention just how cool it is to host such world class athletes at the peak of their performance. To have the eyes of the world on you, if only for a couple weeks.

In case you hadn't figured it out by now, it's a very big event, which a lot of people take very seriously. To win a medal at the Olympic Games is for many athletes, the highest honour that they could possibly receive.

At the Olympic games, events in the following sports are held.

Summer sports:

Aquatics       Archery        Athletics       Badminton
Baseball       Basketball     Boxing          Canoe / Kayak
Cycling        Equestrian     Fencing         Football
Gymnastics     Handball       Field Hockey    Judo
Pentathlon     Rowing         Sailing         Shooting
Softball       Table Tennis   Taekwondo       Tennis
Triathlon      Volleyball     Weightlifting   Wrestling

Winter sports:

Biathlon       Bobsleigh      Curling         Ice Hockey
Luge           Skating        Skiing

The origin of the Olympic Games stretches back to Ancient Greece, where as a part of a religious festival honouring the god Zeus, there were games held every 4 years, in the town of Olympia. This occasion was so important, that during the time that the games were on, there was a cessation of all wars in Greece for the duration of the games. There are some who are trying to reenact this tradition worldwide today. The Olympic Games were also much shorter during this time, being only a 1 day affair when they were first started, up to 5 days.

The first games were held in 776 B.C.E., and originally the only event held was a 600 foot dash. Over time, more events were added to the games. By the end of the 5th century B.C.E, the following events were held: Chariot Racing, and Horse Racing, Pentathlon, Wrestling, Boxing. Jumping, Discus, Javelin, and the Pancration, whatever that is.

Any free male citizen of Greece was eligible to enter the events, and these athletes generally competed naked. Women, on the other hand, where not allowed to enter the games, and only maidens were permitted to watch the events, the penalty for any married woman entering the Sanctuary of Zeus to watch the events being death. No one, on the other hand, is trying to reinstate this tradition.

The original Olympic Games were held for 12 centuries, until 393 C.E., when Theodosios I issued a decree banning all idol worshiping, which included the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia.

The modern Olympic Games were started up again in 1896, due largely to the efforts of a frenchman by the name of Pierre De Coubertin. The games were opened by His Majesty King George I. 241 men from fourteen different countries participated in 43 events, and the winners were awarded a silver medal and a crown of olive branches.

Since then, there have been many changes made to the games, most notably a great deal of events added to the games, and a lot more people participating, as well as splitting the games up into both summer and winter events. The 2000 Syndey Summer games had over 10,000 athletes participating from 199 countries throughout the world, in 300 events. The 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games had 2,399 athletes from 77 countries participating in 78 events.

In addition to having events added to the program, the following events that have been dropped from the Olympic Games: Cricket, Croquet, Golf, Jeu De Paume, Lacrosse, Pelote Basque, Polo, Power Boating, Rackets, Rink-hockey, Roque, Rugby, Tug of War, and Water Skiing.

No games were held in 1916, due to World War I being a bit more important. The same goes for 1940 and 1944, and World War II. These are the only games that have been canceled outright due to war, however during the Cold War, the United States led a boycott of several countries for the 1980 Moscow Summer Games, and the Soviet Union did the same thing for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.

In 1920, the tradition of the Olympic Oath was instituted, which all athletes must swear saying that they will play fair. Also introduced was the Olympic Flag, designed by Pierre De Coubertin. The flag is simple, 5 interlocking rings, of blue, yellow, black, green and red, on a white background. These colours were chosen because at least one of these colours is present in every country that participated in the games at that time.

We swear that we will take part in these Olympic Games in the true spirit of sportsmanship, and that we will respect and abide by the rules that govern them, for the glory of sport and the honor of our country.

In 1924, the International Olympic Committee held International Sports Week in 1924, in Chamonix, France. It was a success, and the tradition was continued, with these games being retroactively named the first Winter Olympic Games. At these games, the Canadian hockey team won all 5 of it's matches, outscoring their competition 110 to 3. Ouch. It originally ran in the same years as the Summer Olympic Games, but in 1994, they began running the Winter Games on even years between the summer games.

1928 was the first year that they instituted the tradition of the lighting of the Olympic Flame. The flame is lit at the altar of the Temple of Hera in Olympia by the high priestess, who then hands a torch lit from this flame to a runner. The flame is then carried, by foot if at all possible, to the city hosting the Olympic Games, where at the opening ceremonies, a flame is lit for the duration of the games.

In 1960, the first Paralympic games were held in Rome, for competition between athletes with significant physical disabilities. Despite these disabilities, these men and women are still awesome athletes, and I have no doubt in my mind that each of them could kick my ass.

1972 saw a tragic event happen at the Munich Summer Games, when on September 5, members of a Palestinian terrorist group broke into the Olympic Village housing the athletes, and killed 11 Israeli athletes. The games were halted, but only for a mere day before they resumed. All but one of the terrorists involved have since got what's coming to them.

The games were originally open to amateur athletes only, with no one who played sports for a living allowed to enter. There were some ways to get around this, such as the Soviet hockey team consisting of people who served in the military. It just so happened that their only duties were playing hockey.

Recently, however, it has opened up somewhat. The IOC now leaves the decision to allow professional athletes to play in the Olympics up to the international organization that regulates that particular sport. This explains why Michael Jordan was able to play for the United States in basketball in 1992, but Alex Rodriguez can't go to Athens to play baseball.

In order to be played at the games, a sport has to be administered by an international organization that complies with not only the Olympic Charter, but also with the IOC's stringent performance enhancing drug restrictions.

That having been said, these organizations sometimes don't catch all offenders, or perhaps some of them just waited until just before the games to take the drugs. Drug Tests are administered right after the completion of any event, and in the case that whoever won an event tested positive for any of the drugs that are on the list, they are stripped of their medal, and that medal is awarded to whichever athlete was right below them in the standings.

That's for individual events, I'm not quite sure how it works for team events. It would really suck to be the one guy who lost your entire team a gold medal. Anyways, the most famous event of this type was at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, when the winner of the men's 100m sprint, the event which traditionally determines the "fastest man in the world", Canadian Ben Johnson was disqualified for drug use.

Putting on the Olympic Games is a bloody expensive affair. Usually, a great deal of the money required will come from the government of the country hosting the games, and another chunk will come from corporations willing to sponsor the games. For example, Coca-Cola paid $60 million USD to be one of the main sponsors of the Athens 2004 Summer Games. In exchange for that, not only will Coca-Cola products be the only drinks available at the games, but spectators at the events will not be allowed to enter the events with Pepsi products, unless the labels have been removed, nor will they be allowed in wearing t-shirts with Pepsi logos. Officials say that this is to prevent what they call Ambush Marketing, where companies try to get free advertising by sneaking products onto camera by spectators in the background.

And there's always NBC, which had obtained exclusive broadcast rights to the Olympic games within the United States, up to the 2008 games. They obtained these rights by paying through the teeth, with the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games costing them $545 million USD. From this, they made $740 million USD in ad revenue.

There are some people who may have a problem with the increasing commercialism in the games, but let's face it, events of this magnitude will cost a *lot* of money to put on, and there's very few governments that would be willing to front the bill on their own.

In the end, the Olympics boils down to one thing. The noble competition between athletes at the top of their field. Friendly competition between nations.

There are very few things in the world that could compare to standing on the medal podium, getting that gold around your neck, watching your country's flag wave as they play your national anthem. To be recognized by the world as the top in your field doesn't happen to many people. The only other thing I can compare it to would be the Nobel Prize.

Calgary Herald, August 8, 2004
Judging which cities would get to host the Olympic Games is almost a sport in itself.

The city of Detroit would get the gold medal for being the least successful in its attempts to get the Olympic Games, with seven bids that have all ended in failure. Sydney, Melbourne and Munich are the only cities which hosted the summer games in the post-war era without ever previously failing a bid.

Interesting bids include Karachi's attempt at the 1960 Winter Olympics, and Belgrade's attempt at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the year Serb forces were shelling former Olympic host Sarajevo.

Below are the names of candiate cities for all the summer and winter games.

2012 Summer Olympics
Winner: London
Other Candidates: Paris,Madrid, New York, Moscow, Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig, Rio de Janeiro

2010 Winter Olympics
Winner: Vancouver
Other Candidates: Pyongchang (South Korea), Harbin (China), Berne, Andorra, Salzburg

2008 Summer Olympics
Winner: Beijing
Other Candidates: Toronto, Paris, Istanbul, Osaka, Seville, Bangkok, Havana, Kuala Lumpur

2006 Winter Olympics
Winner: Turin
Other Candidates: Sion (Switzerland), Zakopane (Poland), Poprad Tatry (Slovakia), Klagenfurt (Germany)

2004 Summer Olympics
Winner: Athens
Other Candidates: Rome, Cape Town, Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Lille, Cape Town, St Petersberg, San Juan, Seville, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul

2002 Winter Olympics
Winner: Salt Lake City
Other Candidates: Ostersund (Sweden), Sion (Switzerland), Quebec City, Graz, Tarvisio (Italy)

2000 Summer Olympics
Winner: Sydney
Other Candidates: Beijing, Manchester, Berlin, Istanbul, Brasilia

1998 Winter Olympics
Winner: Nagano
Other Candidates: Salt Lake City, Ostersund (Sweden), Jaca (Spain), Aosta (Italy), Sochi (Russia)

1996 Summer Olympics
Winner: Atlanta
Other Candidates: Athens, Toronto, Melbourne, Manchester, Belgrade

1994 Winter Olympics
Winner: Lillehammer (Norway)
Other Candidates: Ostersund (Sweden), Anchorage, Sofia

1992 Summer Olympics
Winner: Barcelona
Other Candidates: Paris, Belgrade, Brisbane, Birmingham, Amsterdam, New Delhi,

1992 Winter Olympics
Winner: Albertville (France)
Other Candidates: Sofia, Falun (Sweden), Lillehammer, Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy), Anchorage, Berchtesgarten (Germany)

1988 Summer Olympics
Winner: Seoul
Other Candidates: Nagoya, Athens, Melbourne

1988 Winter Olympics
Winner: Calgary
Other Candidates: Falun (Sweden), Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy)

1984 Summer Olympics
Winner: Los Angeles

1984 Winter Olympics
Winner: Sarajevo
Other Candidates: Sapporo , Gothenberg (Sweden)

1980 Summer Olympics
Winner: Moscow
Other Candidate: Los Angeles

1980 Winter Olympics
Winner: Lake Placid (United States)

1976 Summer Olympics
Winner: Montreal
Other Candidates: Moscow, Los Angeles

1976 Winter Olympics
Winner: Denver (subsequently hosted in Innsbruck)
Other Candidates: Sion (Switzerland), Tampere (Finland), Vancouver, Grenada (Spain)

1972 Summer Olympics
Winner: Munich
Other Candidates: Detroit, Madrid, Moscow

1972 Winter Olympics
Winner: Sapporo
Other Candidates: Banff (Canada), Lahti (Finland), Salt Lake City

1968 Summer Olympics
Winner: Mexico City
Other Candidates: Detroit, Lyons, Buenos Aires

1968 Winter Olympics
Winner: Grenoble
Other Candidates: Calgary, Lahti (Finland), Sapporo, Lake Placid (United States), Oslo

1964 Summer Olympics
Winner: Tokyo
Other Candidates: Detroit, Vienna, Brussels

1964 Winter Olympics
Winner: Innsbruck
Other Candidates: Calgary, Lahti (Finland)

1960 Summer Olympics
Winner: Rome
Other Candidates: Lausanne, Brussels, Budapest, Detroit, Mexico City, Tokyo

1960 Winter Olympics
Winner: Squaw Valley (United States)
Other Candidates: Innsbruck, St Moritz, Garmish-Partenkirchen, Karachi

1956 Summer Olympics
Winner: Melbourne
Other Candidates: Detroit, Philadelphia, Montreal, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Minneapolis

1956 Summer Olympics (equestrian events)
Winner: Stockholm
Other Candidates: Berlin, Rio de Janerio, Paris, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires

1956 Winter Olympics
Winner: Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy)
Other Candidates: Oslo, Lake Placid (United States), Colorado Springs (United States)

1952 Summer Olympics
Winner: Helsinki
Other Candidates: Amsterdam, Athens, Philadelphia, Stockholm, Lausanne, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit

1952 Winter Olympics
Winner: Oslo
Other Candidates: Lake Placid, Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy)

1948 Summer Olympics
Winner: London
Other Candidates: Lausanne, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Minneapolis

1948 Winter Olympics
Winner: St Moritz
Other Candidate: Lake Placid

1944 Summer Olympics
The games did not take place, but candidate cities included Athens, Budapest, Detroit, Lausanne and London.

1944 Summer Olympics
The games did not take place, but candidate cities included Cortina d'Ampezzo, Montreal, Oslo and St Moritz

1940 Summer Olympics
The games did not take place, but candidate cities included Alexandria, Athens, Barcelona, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Dublin, Helsinki, Toronto and Montreal. Tokyo was originally selected but withrew its bid; the games then were awarded to Helsinki.

1940 Winter Olympics
The games did not take place, but candidate cities included Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oslo, Sapporo and St Moritz. Sapporo was originally selected but withrew its bid; the games then were awarded to St Moritz which also later withdrew. Garmisch-Partenkirchen was then offered the games, but they were cancelled as a result of World War Two.

1936 Summer Olympics
Winner: Berlin
Other Candidates: Helsinki, Athens, Dublin, Budapest, Athens, Buenos Aires, Cologne, Alexandria, Rome, Frankfurt, Nuremburg, Barcelona

1936 Winter Olympics
Winner: Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Other Candidates: St Moritz, Montreal

1932 Summer Olympics
Sole Candidate: Los Angeles

1932 Winter Olympics
Winner: Lake Placid
Other Candidates: Bear Mountain, Denver, Duluth, Minneapolis, Montreal, Yosemite Valley, Lake Tahoe

1928 Summer Olympics
Sole Candidate: Amsterdam

1928 Winter Olympics
Winner: St Moritz
Other Candidates: Davos, Engelberg

1924 Summer Olympics
Winner: Paris
Other Candidates: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Prague, Rome

1924 Winter Olympics
Winner: Chamonix (France)

1920 Summer Olympics
Winner: Antwerp
Other Candidates: Budapest, Lyons, Havana, Atlanta

1916 Summer Olympics
The games did not take place, but candidate cities included Alexandria, Berlin, Budapest, Cleveland.

1912 Summer Olympics
Sole Candidate: Stockholm

1908 Summer Olympics
Winner: London
Other Candidates: Berlin, Milan, Rome (Rome was initially selected)

1904 Summer Olympics
Winner: St Louis
Other Candidate: Chicago (Chicago was initially selected)

1900 Summer Olympics
Sole Candidate: Paris

1896 Summer Olympics
Sole Candidate: Athens

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