“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part;
the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
~ Pierre de Coubertin, founder of modern Olympic Games
In this site, these are the articles surrounding the Olympics:
Roaring sounds, loud commentary, focused athletes, and spirited events all occur at the Summer Olympics each Olympiad. Athletes from around the world come to compete against each other in set competitions and events. The athletes take their training very seriously and dedicate much of their time to preparing for the games that occur every four years. Most of the world’s population know of these games and find it extremely lucky if they are able to see the games with their own eyes. This tradition first sparked in 1896 from an idea purposed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
Pierre de Coubertin was a French man who studied ancient Greek traditions and especially favored the Olympic Games. He wanted to share the tradition, originated by the Greeks, with the lives of present-day people. He formed the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which controls the regulations and locations for each of the games still to this day. Pierre de Coubertin became the first secretary general of the committee and helped to organize the first games.
The first Modern Olympic Games occurred in Athens, Greece in 1896. Only 13 countries and 311 athletes attended these games because the games didn’t reach their full popularity until much later. Silver and Bronze medals were given to the winner and the runner-up, instead of the 3rd place athletes like they are today. The winner received a crown of olive branches and a certificate of achievement for his effort. The runner-up received a sprig of laurel as a reward. Only nine events were at these games, and all participants were male.
The 1900 Olympics took place in Paris, France. Women first competed in the games; out of 1,330 athletes eleven were women. Women competed in only tennis and golf. Charlotte Cooper, a British athlete, was the first female top medalist. Theodore Roosevelt wanted the 1904 Summer Games to be held in St. Louis, Missouri, so the IOC decided to host the games there. These games had the smallest number of participants in Olympic history because of the difficulty of traveling to St. Louis.
Obtained from http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-249562/Olympic-Games
In 1908, the games were held in London, England, in a newly built stadium just for the Olympics. There were 2000 athletes from 22 nations that attended these games. At these Olympics, the gold medal was awarded for the first time. There were many major disputes between countries, and many people were disqualified due to fighting. The 1912 games were held in Stockholm, Sweden and they restored the Olympic games’ popularity and status after the cataclysm of the 1908 Olympics. Twenty-eight countries attended these games, and 2500 athletes participated. The first women events were added to the Olympics, which included a swimming event and the pentathlon.
World War I forced the 1916 games, scheduled for Berlin, Germany, to be cancelled. A dramatic increase of women’s events occurred when the war ended. After the war was over, the 1920 Olympics were held in Antwerp, Belgium. Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Turkey were banned from participating in the games because they had helped with the start of World War I and they were enemies of Belgium during the war. The Olympic oath and the Olympic flag (See Olympic Traditions) were first introduced during the 1920 games and are still used in the Olympics today.
In 1924, the first Winter Olympics took place, which were held in Chamonix, France. In the same year, the Summer Olympics were held in Paris, France. These games showed that the games had a strong growth after World War I. There were 44 nations participating in the events, and from them there were many women who entered in the competitions.
Amsterdam, Netherlands held the 1928 Olympics and women first competed in track and field, even though few women attended these games. Out of the 3000 athletes, there were only 290 women. In addition, Germany was invited back to the games for the first time since World War I. The 1932 Olympics were located in Los Angeles, California during the time of the depression. Even though major economical downfalls were happening in the United States, the games were still a huge success. The athletes’ village concept, a place where the competitors could go during the time of their stay at the host city, was first introduced. Furthermore, the photo-finish camera, the three tiered victory stand, and the idea of presenting the winners their medals on the same day as the competition were first added to the Olympics.
In 1936, Berlin, Germany hosted the Olympic games. The events were controlled by Adolph Hitler, which caused many nations to boycott the games (including the US). Hitler used the games to exercise his beliefs to the rest of the world. Basketball and the torch relay from Olympia, Greece to the host city were first introduced.
The 1940 and 1944 games were cancelled due to World War II. In 1948, the games took place in London, England, even though the economy of Britain was staggering. These games helped to bring the countries together after the war. Helsinki, Finland hosted the 1952 games where the Soviet Union competed in the Olympics for the first time. These games were the most successful at the time, holding over 7,000 athletes from 61 countries.
The 1956 Olympics, held in Melbourne, Australia were affected by many political issues. These were the first games held outside of Europe and the United States. The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain did not participate because of the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Egypt and Lebanon didn’t attend because of the Suez Canal conflict between Egypt and Israel. Also, the People’s Republic of China didn’t take part because of the presence of Taiwan in the games.
In 1960, the games were held in Rome, Italy. These games were the first Olympics to be covered by television. The following games took place in Tokyo, Japan. Many athletes had trouble breathing due to the high altitude of the city. Mexico City, Mexico hosted the 1968 games. The IOC wanted to readmit South Africa to the games after being expelled for racial beliefs in 1960. After the proposed boycott of 40 countries, the committee was forced to repeal their decision.
The 1972 games in Munich, West Germany were the worst Olympics in the history of the games. Palestine terrorists captured and killed 2 Israeli athletes, and in a follow-up airport shootout, 9 Israeli hostages, five terrorists and a policeman were killed. The games continued on, but the IOC expelled Rhodesia after a proposed boycott of African nations if Rhodesia would have participated.
The following games had extra security to protect athletes from another terrorist attack. In Montreal Canada, twenty third-world countries, mostly African, boycotted the games because of the participation of New Zealand. The 1980 games, held in Moscow Russia, were boycotted by 50 countries and the Unites States because of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The 1984 Olympics were held in Los Angeles, California. The USSR and 15 other nations boycotted the games in retaliation of the US boycott during the previous Olympics. The next games were held in Seoul, South Korea. At these games, US and Soviet Union athletes met for the first time in 12 years. Barcelona, Spain held the 1992 Olympics. Baseball was first introduced as one of the events in the Olympics. Additionally, South Africa was invited back to the games and competed for the first time since 1960.
Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_Summer_Olympics
The following Olympics were hosted by Atlanta, Georgia, US and was the 100 year anniversary of the 1st modern Olympics. Many countries competed for the first time, which made the games have the record participation in the history of the modern games. At the 1996 Olympics, Georgia hosted over 11,000 athletes from over 197 countries.
In 2000, Sydney, Australia hosted the Olympic games. The trampoline was added as one of the gymnastic events. Many new athletic events were added for both men and women. Two cycling events and boxing were added to men’s events. For women, a cycling event, a pentathlon, skeet shooting, pole vault, and water polo were incorporated into the games. Tai Kwon do, synchronized spring board diving, and a triathlon were added events for both men and women. Overall, 199 countries attended the games whose athletes took part in around 300 events.
The 2004 Olympics were hosted by Athens. New events such as women’s fencing and two sailing events were added. Illegal substances such as steroids caused a major concern in the games. Drug testing resulted in the banning of many athletes, and some even lost medal which they had earned.
Even after 108 years, the Olympics still continue to be a very important test of physical ability for athletes from all corners of the globe. The games are shown great respect and have evolved massively since their creation in 1896. Because most of the Olympics proved to be an exceptional success, many people believe that the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China will prove to be just as triumphant.
Oxlade, Chris. Olympics. New York, NY: Dorling Kinderslet Publishing, 2000
Benson, Lee. Athens to Atlanta- 100 Years of Glory. Salt Lake City, Utah: Mikko Laitnen Commemorative Publications. 1996
DK Books, Chronicle of the Olympics 1896-1996. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersley Publications, 1996.
"Brief History of the Olympics Games." NOSTOS. 2000. Hellenic Cyber Centre. 2 Feb 2008 <http://www.nostos.com/olympics/#Ancient%20Olympic%20Games>.
"General Olympic FAQ." US Olympic Team. 2004. United States Olympic Committee. 14 Feb 2008 <http://www.usolympicteam.com/19116_18922.htm>.
Last modified: 04/02/08