THE MODERN OLYMPIC GAMESBy Molly Harrison and Uma Cheyne.
Pierre De CoubertinFrenchman, Pierre De Coubertin (born 1st January 1863 in Paris, France) was the founder of theModern Olympic Games. He died from a stroke on 2nd September 1937 whilst in Geneva,Switzerland. Pierre had three siblings called Paul, Albert and Marie. He married Mary Rothan andhad two children - one boy and one girl- both of whom were disabled.Pierre De Coubertin wanted to make sports an important part of the personal development ofyoung people. He made plans of an international competition to promote athletics. To publicisethese plans, he organised an international meeting on 23 June 1894 at the Sorbonne in Paris. Therehe proposed to revive the ancient Olympic Games. Later in the year, he invited friends andcolleagues to a meeting in Paris, France. Pierre told them about his plans to start the ModernOlympic Games. Pierre had to work for around six years to convince the public that it was a goodidea. The group became widely known as the International Olympic Committee (IOC). NewZealand were one of the thirteen countries represented at the signing of the IOC. At the AncientOlympic Games, awards were given to all who participated in the games. Pierre kept this in mind bycreating symbols and encouraging ceremonies, music and pageant in the Modern Olympics, settingit apart from all other international sporting events.
Host CitiesThe Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad are aninternational multi-sport event, which occur every four years, andorganized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Medals areawarded in each event, with gold medals for ﬁrst place, silver forsecond and bronze for third, a tradition that started in 1904. Includingthis year’s 2012 Summer Olympics, there will have been 30 held.London have hosted the games three times including this year. In 1906the games were not recognized by the IOC. Also, the Olympic gameswere not held in 1916 because of WW1 and in 1940 and 1944 thegames were cancelled due to the second world war.
Olympic FlagThe Olympic Flag was created by Pierre De Coubertin in 1914.The ﬁve rings represent the ﬁve inhabited continents of the world- America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Every country whichcompetes in the Olympic Games has at least one of the ﬁvecolours (Blue, Black, Red, Yellow and Green) on their own ﬂag.The ﬁve being interlocked represents all the countries in union.Pierre De Coubertin is said to have found the original ﬁve ringssymbol engraved on an altar stone which was unearthed at Delphi.The colourful Olympic rings logo is one of the most widely knownsymbols in the world today.
Torch Relay and FlameThe Olympic Torch Relay starts in Olympia, Greece where it is lit by the sun’srays using a parabolic mirror. The rays are reﬂected and focused on a certainpoint which lights it. The torch is then carried by many people from Olympia tothe host city of that year. The last stage of the relay is when it is carried on onelap around the stadium and lights the Olympic cauldron. It is consideredincredibly honorable to be chosen to light the Olympic cauldron. In the AncientOlympics a sacred truce was held throughout Greece so that the Athletes couldtravel safely to Olympia. A messenger would travel all over the country tospread word of the truce. The Olympic Torch Relay symbolizes the ancientpeace. The ﬂame burns in the Olympic cauldron until close to the closingceremony. The Olympic torch was reintroduced at the 1928 Summer Olympicsin Amsterdam, and has been part of the Modern Olympics ever since. The torchtravels through a route which symbolizes human achievement. In 1996 and2000 the torch, but not the ﬂame, was taken into space by astronauts.
Olympic OathDuring the opening ceremonies, one athlete - chosen from the hosting team -proclaims the oath whilst holding the corner of his or her national ﬂag. The oathwas written by Pierre De Coubertin and the athlete which recites it says the oathon behalf of all the athletes which are competing. The Olympic Oath was ﬁrsttaken by Belgian fencer Victor Boin in 1920. The Olympic Oath which was recitedin 1920 was "In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part inthese Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, in thetrue spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams." In2000, however, the oath was updated to included a promise which says athletescompeting may not take drugs of any sort during the games. The currently usedoath is now "In the name of all the competitors, I promise that we shall take part inthese Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them,committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the truespirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams." In 1972the Olympic Oath was taken by a referee for the ﬁrst time.
CeremoniesThe Olympic Games are a celebration of the Olympic Movement and theOlympic Values. The opening and closing ceremonies reﬂect the cultureand art of the hosting country. All of the ceremonies follow the same setof rules, but each country adds their own feel to the ceremonies throughtheir own artistic program. Before the Olympic Games, there is a lot ofsecrecy about what might happen at the Opening Ceremony and it is allkept conﬁdential. In July 2008, one week prior to the beginning of theBeijing Olympics, a South Korean TV channel broadcast some footage ofthe rehearsal for China’s upcoming Opening Ceremony. This was notallowed and caused wide spread disappointment and annoyancethroughout the world.
Creed and MottoThe Olympic MottoOne of Pierre De Coubertin’s good friends was principal of the Arcueil College, near Paris. As anenergetic teacher, he used the discipline of sport as a powerful educational tool. One day, after anathletics meeting, he ended his speech three words "Citius, Altius, Fortius" (faster, higher, stronger).Struck by the short and sweet essence of this phrase, Baron Pierre de Coubertin made it the Olympicmotto, pointing out that "Athletes need freedom of excess. That is why we gave them this motto ... amotto for people who dare to try to break records."The Olympic CreedThe Olympic Creed originated when Pierre de Coubertin a phrase from a speech given by BishopEthelbert Talbot at a service for Olympic champions during the 1908 Olympic Games. The OlympicCreed reads:"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing inlife is not the triumph but the stru"le. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought we#."The creed and motto are meant to spur the athletes to embrace the Olympic spirit and perform to thebest of their abilities.