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OLYMPIC GAMES Olympic Games THE HISTORY

DISCLAIMER :: Obviously, I have not lived long enough to experience or witness the entire history of the modern Olympic Games. Therefore, credit goes to YAHOO! for most of the information I have in these websites. This site is also not affiliated with the Olympics or the IOC. All pictures, logos, trademarks and symbols are properties of the Olympic Movement and are used here for identification purposes only. This site is for personal use only.

ORIGIN :: Beginning in 776 B.C., the Olympic Games were held in the Valley of Olympia in Greece - famous for its magnificent temples of the gods Zeus and Hera - as a religious festival dedicated to the Olympian Gods involving one event, a stade race held over 192 meters. Athletes in those days competed every Olympiad (a unit of time measuring four years). It was believed that the heroes and gods were the first to compete and considered competition a noble endeavor that combined a positive balance of the body, mind and soul. Some myths attribute the first Olympic Games to the mighty Hercules, who organized foot races and rewarded the victors with a wreath of wild olive leaves. The root of the word "athlete" comes from the Greek word "athlos," which means "contest," and has been linked to Hercules because it suggests the highest level of physical achievement and moral virtues.

By about 650 B.C., the Ancient Games were held over five days, involving running, wrestling, the pentathlon, horse riding and chariot racing. Participants came to compete from every corner of the Greek world aiming at the ultimate prize - an olive wreath and a "heroic" return to their city-states. Athletes competed in the nude and upon victory were awarded a crown of wild olive leaves. Women and slaves were strictly forbidden to attend the Games under the punishment of death.

BANNED :: The Ancient Games were held for almost 1200 years until 393 A.D. when Roman Emperor Theodosius I banned all pagan festivals (the Olympics celebrated the Greek god Zeus). He asserted that the Games placed an excessive public focus on athletic and spiritual affairs and abolished them.

REVIVAL :: On June 23, 1894, French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin, speaking at the Sorbonne in Paris to a gathering of international sports leaders, proposed that the ancient games be revived on an international scale. The idea was enthusiastically received. The International Olympic Committee was formed and the Modern Olympics were born. The first Modern Olympics were held two years later in Athens, Greece, where 245 (all men) athletes from 14 nations competed in the ancient Panathinaikon Stadium to large and ardent crowds. Nine sports were included in the 1896 games. No female athletes were present in the 1896 games. South Boston's James Connolly won the hop, step and jump (triple jump) and became the first Olympic champion in more than 1,500 years. Winners were awarded a silver medal and an olive branch.

MODERN :: At the Sydney 2000 Games, more than 10,000 athletes from 199 countries will take part in 300 events. The Olympic Movement has survived wars, boycotts and terrorism to become a symbol of the ability of the people of all nations to come together in peace and friendship. Over the years, the Olympic Games traveled to different countries and continents, and in 2004, they returned to the country of their birth and the city of their revival for the hosting of the XXVIII Modern Olympic Games.

In between, the 1976 Games were boycotted by 32 nations - most of them from black Africa - because the IOC did not ban New Zealand who earlier had toured racially-segregated South Africa in a rugby tournament. The 1980 Games were boycotted by 64 nations, led by the USA, to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on Dec 27, 1979. The 1984 were boycotted by 14 communist Eastern Bloc nations, led by the USSR, as revenge for 1980.

GAMES OF THE OLYMPIAD (SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES)

 

Location

YR

SPORTS

EVENTS

NATIONS

Athletes

#1

I

Athens, Greece

1896

9

43

14

245

GRE

II

Paris, France

1900

17

75

24

1225

FRA

III

St Louis, USA

1904

15

94

13

687

USA

*

Athens, Greece

1906

11

77

20

884

FRA

IV

London, UK

1908

21

110

22

2035

GBR

V

Stockholm, Sweden

1912

13

101

28

2547

SWE

VI

Berlin, Germany

1916

WORLD WAR I

VII

Antwerp, Belgium

1920

21

156

29

2609

USA

VIII

Paris, France

1924

17

126

44

3070

USA

IX

Amsterdam, Netherlands

1928

14

109

46

3014

USA

X

Los Angeles, USA

1932

14

116

37

1408

USA

XI

Berlin, Germany

1936

19

129

49

4066

GER

XII

Tokyo, Japan & Helsinki, Finland

1940

WORLD WAR II

XIII

London, England

1944

XIV

London, UK

1948

17

136

59

4099

USA

XV

Helsinki, Finland

1952

17

149

69

4925

USA

XVI

Melbourne, Australia
Stockholm, Sweden (Equestrian)

1956

17

151

72

3342

URS

XVII

Rome, Italy

1960

17

150

83

5348

URS

XVIII

Tokyo, Japan

1964

19

163

93

5140

USA

XXIX

Mexico City, Mexico

1968

18

172

112

5330

USA

XX

Munich, West Germany

1972

21

195

121

7123

URS

XXI

Montreal, Canada

1976

21

198

92

6028

URS

XXII

Moscow, USSR

1980

21

203

80

5217

URS

XXIII

Los Angeles, USA

1984

21

221

140

6797

USA

XXIV

Seoul, South Korea

1988

23

237

159

8465

URS

XXV

Barcelona, Spain

1992

25

257

169

9367

EUN

XXVI

Atlanta, USA

1996

26

271

197

10320

USA

XXVII

Sydney, Australia

2000

28

300

199

10651

USA

XXVIII

Athens, Greece

2004

28

301

202

11099

USA

XIX

Beijing, China

2008

28

302

 

 

 

XXX

London, UK

2012

 

 

 

 

 

               

 

WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES (Jeux Olympiques d'Hiver)

 

Location

YR

Sports

Events

NATIONS

Athletes

#1

I

Chamonix, France

1924

6

16

16

258

NOR

II

St. Moritz, Switzerland

1928

5

13

25

464

NOR

III

Lake Placid, USA

1932

4

14

17

252

USA

IV

Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany

1936

4

17

28

668

NOR

 

Sapporo, Japan
St. Moritz, Switzerland
Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany

1940

WORLD WAR II

 

Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

1944

V

St. Moritz, Switzerland

1948

5

22

28

669

NOR-SWE

VI

Oslo, Norway

1952

4

22

30

694

NOR

VII

Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

1956

4

24

32

820

URS

VIII

Squaw Valley, USA

1960

4

27

30

665

URS

IX

Innsbruck, Austria

1964

6

34

36

1091

URS

X

Grenoble, France

1968

6

35

37

1158

NOR

XI

Sapporo, Japan

1972

6

35

35

1006

URS

XII

Innsbruck, Austria

1976

6

37

37

1123

URS

XIII

Lake Placid, USA

1980

6

38

37

1072

GDR

XIV

Sarajevo, Yugoslavia

1984

6

39

49

1274

URS

XV

Calgary, Canada

1988

6

46

57

1423

URS

XVI

Albertville, France

1992

6

57

64

1801

GER

XVII

Lillehammer, Norway

1994

6

61

67

1739

NOR

XVIII

Nagano, Japan

1998

7

68

72

2302

GER

XIX

Salt Lake City, USA

2002

7

78

78

2527

GER

XX

Turin, Italy

2006

7

84

80

2663

GER

XXI

Vancouver, Canada

2010

 

 

 

 

 

XXII

Sochi, Russia

2014

 

 

 

 

 

2018

PRE-WWI: The birth was not a smooth one for the Olympic Winter Games, the poor stepchild of the Summer Olympics. Their Scandinavian ancestors balked at the idea of having them. Their father figure, Olympic founder Pierre de Coubertin, didn't exactly love them, and a later guardian, Avery Brundage, practically disowned them. They weren't even given their proper name at birth. When de Coubertin formed the International Olympic Committee in 1894 and launched the Summer Games in Athens in 1896, winter sports were only peripherally on the radar screen. Figure skating was mentioned, and there was an Olympic figure skating competition in 1908 as part of the Summer Games in London. Ten-time world champion Ulrich Salchow of Sweden, who originated the backwards, one revolution jump that bears his name, and Madge Syers of Britain were the first singles champions. Germans Anna Hubler and Heinrich Berger won the pairs competition. In 1907, the French began staging an annual Winter Sports Week of their own, with a decidedly military tone to it, and the central Europeans became interested in the idea of a Winter Olympics, over the objection of the Scandinavians. In fact, cross-country skiing and ski jumping were scheduled to take place in the Black Forest in 1916 in conjunction with that year's Berlin Olympics, but the outbreak of World War I in 1914 derailed those Games.

PRE-WWII: The Games resumed in 1920 at Antwerp, Belgium, where figure skating returned and ice hockey was added as a medal event. These events were held four months before the Summer Games. Sweden's Gillis Grafstrom and Magda Julin took individual honors, while Ludovika and Walter Jakobsson were the top pair. In hockey, Canada - with a team composed almost entirely of Icelandic immigrants - won the gold medal with the United States second and Czechoslovakia third. The next year, at an IOC meeting, the French, who would be the hosts of the 1924 Summer Games in Paris, pursued the idea of incorporating their Winter Sports Week into the Olympiad that year. They ultimately got their way, but with an accommodation to the opposing Scandinavians that the 1924 festival be called anything but Olympic. The Scandinavians just couldn't cede control of their sacred sport to IOC officials who knew nothing of skiing. There were objections from Modern Olympics' founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin and resistance from the Scandinavian countries, which had staged their own Nordic championships every four years from 1901-26 in Sweden. They felt their games alone could foster their serious conception of skiing as a way of life, and they didn't want any imitations such as the Winter Olympics to take their place. Ultimately, the 11-day International Winter Sports week was held in Chamonix and included nordic skiing, speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey and bobsledding. It was a huge success and the year after the 1924 Games, the IOC retroactively christened them the Olympic Winter Games.

POST-WAR: World War II cancelled the 1940 and 1944 Games. Axis powers Germany and Japan rejoined the Olympic community in 1952. Though divided, the Germans sent a joint East-West team through 1964 after which East and West Germany sent separate teams till 1988. The 1992 Games featured a unified Germany after the 1990 reunification and the USSR competes as the Unified Team after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Soviet Union (USSR) participates in its first Winter Games in 1956 and takes home the most medals including gold in ice hockey. The 1976 Winter Games were supposed to be held in Denver but in 1972, Colorado voters rejected a bond issue to finance the undertaking and the IOC selects Innsbruck (1964) to take over.

Seventy years after those first cold weather Games, the 17th edition of the Winter Olympics took place in Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994. The event ended the four-year Olympic cycle of staging both Winter and Summer Games in the same year and began a new schedule that calls for the two Games to alternate every two years. In 1998, Nagano became the first cyberspace Olympics by recording 646 million hits on its website averaging 39.7mn/day and 103429/min at its peak. 2 years later in Sydney 2000, www.olympics.com racked up 11 billion hits over 17 days.

When Utah's Olympics unfold in February, so too will the latest chapter of a story that began in 1924 in Chamonix, the little French town at the foot of Mt. Blanc. The 2002 Games will have five times as many nations in attendance as there were in the 1924 inaugural in the French Alps resort of Chamonix, six times as many medal events and almost 10 times as many competitors. All of this would have been inconceivable a century ago. In more than three quarters of a century, the history of the winter Games has played out in such snowy wonderlands as St. Moritz, Innsbruck, Sapporo, and Lake Placid. The plot has twisted around engaging personalities: figure skaters Sonja Henie, Dick Button and Peggy FLeming; skiers Jean-Claude Killy, Toni Sailer and Rosi Mittermaier; speedskater Eric Heiden. In 1980 there was a miracle, just when the United States seemed in need of one. In 1936, there was nationalism of another sort as Adolph Hitler presided over the Opening Ceremony. There has been the Harding and Kerrigan soap opera, the triumph of Dan Jansen, the larger-than-life Hermannator and Tomba.

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