The Olympic Games are a multi-sport event taking place every fourth year.
Originally held in ancient Greece, they were revived by French Baron Pierre de Coubertin in the late 19th century.
The Games of the Olympiad, better known as the Summer Olympics, have been held every fourth year since 1896, with the exception of the years during the World Wars.
A special edition for winter sports, the Winter Olympic Games, started in 1924; since 1994 these are no longer held in the same year as the Games of the Olympiad.
A Greek legend tells of the great Heracles (or Hercules, in Latin) who won a race at Olympia and then decreed that the race should be re-enacted every four years.
Another legend says that Zeus had instated the festival after his defeat of Cronus.
According to yet another legend, King Iphitos[?] of Elidos[?] consulted the Pythia (oracle of Delphi) to try and save his people from war in the 9th century BC.
The prophetess advised him to organise games in honour of the gods.
The Spartan adversary of Ipitos then decided to stop the war during these games, which were called Olympic, after Mount Olympus, the mountain on which the Greek gods were said to live.
The last version is probably the most accurate, although the Games likely originated from locally held games.
Another possible source of the Games is the legend of Oenomaus, who challenged his daughter's suitors to a chariot race and killed the losers.
The fourteenth suitor, Pelops, cheated by bribing Oenomaus' charioteer, Myrtilus, who loosened a lynchpin, killing Oenomaus.
Pelops married the princess, Hippodamia.
The Games were held in Olympia, a worshipping place for the Greek gods.
Located in Olympia was a 12 m high statue in ivory and gold of Zeus, the main god.
The statue was one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World.
The first written accounts of the Olympic Games date from 776 BC, although it is sure that these Games were not the first ones to be held.
The only competiton held then was the stadion race, a race over about 190 meters, measured after the feet of Hercules.
The word stadium is derived from this foot race.
The Olympic Games were held in four year intervals, and later the Greek method of counting the years even referred to these Games, using the term Olympiad for the period between two Games.
Over the years, other events were added: boxing, wrestling, a pentathlon[?], pankration (combination of boxing and wrestling), chariot racing[?], and several other athletic events such as more running events, javelin throw and discus throw.
The addition of these events meant the festival grew from 1 day to 5 days, of which 3 were used for competition.
The winners of an Olympic event were awarded an olive branch, and was often received with much honour in his home town (and outside).
(See Milon from Croton[?].)
Sculptors would create statues of Olympic victors (see Ageladas).
The ancient Olympic Games were abandoned in AD 394 by the Roman emperor Theodosius I, who considered the Games to be a savage celebration.
- specific winner
- better details
- no war during Games
- Roman influence
De Coubertin, founding of IOC
See Summer Olympic Games
for a global history, or the the articles for the individual celebrations:
- 1896 Summer Olympics, Athens, Greece
- 1900 Summer Olympics, Paris, France
- 1904 Summer Olympics, St. Louis, United States
- 1906 Summer Olympics, Athens, Greece
- 1908 Summer Olympics, London, United Kingdom
- 1912 Summer Olympics, Stockholm, Sweden
- 1916 Summer Olympics, Berlin, Germany (not held)
- 1920 Summer Olympics, Antwerp, Belgium
- 1924 Summer Olympics, Paris, France
- 1928 Summer Olympics, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- 1932 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, United States
- 1936 Summer Olympics, Berlin, Germany
- 1940 Summer Olympics, Helsinki, Finland (not held)
- 1944 Summer Olympics, London, United Kingdom (not held)
- 1948 Summer Olympics, London, United Kingdom
- 1952 Summer Olympics, Helsinki, Finland
- 1956 Summer Olympics, Melbourne, Australia and Stockholm, Sweden (equestrian events)
- 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome, Italy
- 1964 Summer Olympics, Tokyo, Japan
- 1968 Summer Olympics, Mexico City, Mexico
- 1972 Summer Olympics, Munich, West Germany.
- 1976 Summer Olympics, Montréal, Canada
- 1980 Summer Olympics, Moscow, Soviet Union
- 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, United States
- 1988 Summer Olympics, Seoul, South Korea
- 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona, Spain
- 1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, United States
- 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney, Australia
- 2004 Summer Olympics, Athens, Greece
- 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing, China
- 2012 Summer Olympics, Bids are being made.
See Olympic Winter Games
for a global history, or the the articles for the individual celebrations:
- I Olympic Winter Games - 1924, Chamonix, France
- II Olympic Winter Games - 1928, St. Moritz[?], Switzerland
- III Olympic Winter Games - 1932, Lake Placid, United States
- IV Olympic Winter Games - 1936, Garmisch-Partenkirchen[?], Germany
- V Olympic Winter Games - 1948, St. Moritz[?], Switzerland
- VI Olympic Winter Games - 1952, Oslo, Norway
- VII Olympic Winter Games - 1956, Cortina d'Ampezzo[?], Italy
- VIII Olympic Winter Games - 1960, Squaw Valley, United States
- IX Olympic Winter Games - 1964, Innsbruck, Austria
- X Olympic Winter Games - 1968, Grenoble, France
- XI Olympic Winter Games - 1972, Sapporo, Japan
- XII Olympic Winter Games - 1976, Innsbruck, Austria
- XIII Olympic Winter Games - 1980, Lake Placid, United States
- XIV Olympic Winter Games - 1984, Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
- XV Olympic Winter Games - 1988, Calgary, Canada
- XVI Olympic Winter Games - 1992, Albertville, France
- XVII Olympic Winter Games - 1994, Lillehammer, Norway
- XVIII Olympic Winter Games - 1998, Nagano, Japan
- XIX Olympic Winter Games - 2002, Salt Lake City, United States
- XX Olympic Winter Games - 2006, Turin, Italy
- XXI Olympic Winter Games - 2010, Vancouver, Canada
A large number of sports have been conducted at the Olympic Games.
The following sports are currently on the program of the Games of the Olympiad.
- Archery (1900-1908, 1920, 1972-2000)
- Athletics (track and field) (1896-2000)
- Badminton (1992-2000, demonstrated in 1972)
- Baseball (1992-2000, demonstrated in 1912, 1936, 1956, 1964, 1984 and 1988)
- Basketball (1936-2000)
- Beach volleyball (1996-2000)
- Boxing (1904-1908, 1920-2000)
- Canoeing[?] (1936-2000, demonstrated in 1924)
- Cycling (1896-2000)
- Diving (1904-2000)
- Equestrianism (1900, 1912-2000)
- Fencing (1896-2000)
- Football (1900-1928, 1936-2000)
- Gymnastics (1896-2000)
- Handball (1936, 1972-2000)
- Hockey (1908, 1920-2000)
- Judo (1964, 1972-2000)
- Modern pentathlon (1912-2000)
- Rhythmic gymnastics (1984-2000)
- Rowing (1900-2000)
- Shooting (1896-1924, 1932-2000)
- Softball (1996-2000)
- Swimming (1896-2000)
- Synchronised swimming[?] (1984-2000)
- Table tennis (1988-2000)
- Taekwondo (2000, demonstrated in 1988 and 1992)
- Tennis (1896-1924, 1988-2000, demonstrated in 1968 and 1984)
- Trampolining (2000)
- Triathlon (2000)
- Volleyball (1964-2000)
- Water polo (1900-1904, 1908-2000)
- Weightlifting (1896, 1904-1906, 1920-2000)
- Wrestling (1896, 1904-2000)
- Yachting (1900, 1908-2000)
The following sports have been on the program, but are no longer held:
Sports held as a demonstration, or of which the Olympic status is disputable (d):
The following sports are on the program of the Winter Olympic Games:
- Alpine skiing (1936-2002)
- Biathlon (1960-2002)
- Bobsleigh (1924-1956, 1964-2002)
- Cross country skiing (1924-2002)
- Curling (1998-2002, demonstrated in 1924, 1932, 1988 and 1992)
- Figure skating (1924-2002, also held at the 1908 and 1920 Games of the Olympiad)
- Freestyle skiing (1992-2002, demonstrated in 1988)
- Ice hockey (1924-2002, also held at the 1920 Games of the Olympiad)
- Luge (1964-2002)
- Nordic combined (1924-2002)
- Short-track speed skating (1992-2002, demonstrated in 1988)
- Skeleton (1928, 1948, 2002)
- Ski jumping (1924-2002)
- Snowboarding (1998-2002)
- Speed skating (1924-2002)
The following sports have been held as a demonstration, but have never made it as an Olympic winter sport:
is also the name the public sometimes uses for the Greek
national airline, Olympic Airways
Olympic uses varous types or airplanes, like the Boeing 747
and Airbus A340[?]
for international routes, and the Boeing 727
and Boeing 737
for domestic routes.
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