The Modern Olympic Games


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The Modern Olympic Games

  1. 1. The Modern Olympic Games4º ESO European SectionsPhysical Department4º ESO European Sections-8991605827395-8991603017520<br />Index: TOC o "1-3" h z u 1.INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc304636289 h 32.MODERN OLYMPIC SYMBOLS AND TRADITIONS PAGEREF _Toc304636290 h 42.1.The Olympic Movement PAGEREF _Toc304636291 h 42.2.What do the Olympic rings mean? PAGEREF _Toc304636292 h 42.3.Flame and Torch PAGEREF _Toc304636293 h 42.4.The Olympic Oath PAGEREF _Toc304636294 h 52.5.Rings and Flag PAGEREF _Toc304636295 h 62.6.Anthem PAGEREF _Toc304636296 h 62.7.Motto PAGEREF _Toc304636297 h 72.8.Release of Doves PAGEREF _Toc304636298 h 72.9.What is the Olympic creed? PAGEREF _Toc304636299 h 82.10.Closing statement PAGEREF _Toc304636300 h 82.11.The Victory Ceremony PAGEREF _Toc304636301 h 8I.1896 Athens PAGEREF _Toc304636302 h 9II.1900 Paris PAGEREF _Toc304636303 h 9III.1904 St. Louis PAGEREF _Toc304636304 h 10IV.1908 London PAGEREF _Toc304636305 h 10V.1912 Stockholm PAGEREF _Toc304636306 h 11VI.1916 Berlin scheduled cancelled due to WW1 PAGEREF _Toc304636307 h 12VII.1920 Antwerp PAGEREF _Toc304636308 h 12VIII.1924 Paris PAGEREF _Toc304636309 h 12IX.1928 Amsterdam PAGEREF _Toc304636310 h 13X.1932 Los Angeles PAGEREF _Toc304636311 h 14XI.1936 Berlin PAGEREF _Toc304636312 h 151940 Tokyo (XII) scheduled, cancelled due to WW2 PAGEREF _Toc304636313 h 161944 London (XIII) scheduled, cancelled due to WW2 PAGEREF _Toc304636314 h 16XIV. 1948 London PAGEREF _Toc304636315 h 16XV. 1952 Helsinki PAGEREF _Toc304636316 h 16XVI. 1956 Melbourne PAGEREF _Toc304636317 h 17XVII. 1960 Rome PAGEREF _Toc304636318 h 18XVIII. 1964 Tokyo PAGEREF _Toc304636319 h 18XIX. 1968 Mexico PAGEREF _Toc304636320 h 19XX. 1972 Munich PAGEREF _Toc304636321 h 19XXI. 1976 Montreal PAGEREF _Toc304636322 h 20XXII. 1980 Moscow PAGEREF _Toc304636323 h 21XXIII. 1984 Los Angeles PAGEREF _Toc304636324 h 21XXIV. 1988 Seoul PAGEREF _Toc304636325 h 22XXV. 1992 Barcelona PAGEREF _Toc304636326 h 22XXVI. 1996 Atlanta PAGEREF _Toc304636327 h 23XXVII. 2000 Sydney PAGEREF _Toc304636328 h 23XXVIII. 2004 Athens PAGEREF _Toc304636329 h 24XXIX. 2008 Beijing PAGEREF _Toc304636330 h 24The Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium PAGEREF _Toc304636331 h 25XXX. 2012 London PAGEREF _Toc304636332 h 25XXXI. 2016 Rio Janeiro PAGEREF _Toc304636333 h 26<br />THE MODERN OLYMPIC GAMES<br />INTRODUCTION<br />320040506095It wasn't until after efforts by French Baron Pierre De Coubertin and the Greek Dimitrios Vikelas that the games were brought back to life after nearly 1500 years in the wilderness. P. Coubertin believed that sport was a very strong power that could inspire a feeling of unity and peace among the many nations of the world. He believed that this desire could be brought about with the revival of the Olympic Games.<br />After an unsuccessful attempt at reviving the games, he finally achieved his ambition. In 1894 at an international congress, which was actually devised for the study of amateur sports, he voiced his view on the revival of the Olympic Games, and was delighted when the other countries participating in the congress agreed with him. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded that year.<br />Held in Athens in 1896 at the Panatheniac Stadium, the games heralded a welcomed return to the original beliefs and virtues of the ancient games. With competitors from 14 nations, the games commenced on April 6th and came to a climax on 15th April. There were 43 events, which were competed in by 245 athletes, all of whom were male.<br />Probably the biggest cheer of the 1896 Olympics was when a Greek Sheppard, Spiridon Louis, was victorious in the most popular of all events, the marathon. The athletes from the United States were also big winners in these games, winning 9 events. <br />What is even more remarkable regarding this is that their Olympic squad barely made it to Athens in time to compete.<br />The Olympics have taken place every four years, since the first games in 1896. However, even the ideals of the Olympic Truce could not prevent the games being cancelled during the first and second world wars. The games cancelled were the 1916 Olympics, due to be held in Berlin, the 1940 games to be held in Tokyo and the 1944 games to be held in Helsinki.<br />The Winter Olympic Games were introduced in 1924, and also took place every four years. However, it wasn't until 1992 that it was decided that the Olympic and Winter Olympic games would not take place in the same calendar year. The Winter Games were moved forward two years to 1994, and would continue to take place at four-year intervals.<br />Since the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, the games have continued to grow throughout the years and more and more nations have been taking part, as well as more events being included. During the 1896 games, 14 nations took part. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 199 nations took part. In 1896 there were 245 athletes (all male), in 2000 there were 10,651 (4069 women and 6582 men). And in 1896 there were 43 events, compared to the 300 events at the 2000 Olympics.<br />MODERN OLYMPIC SYMBOLS AND TRADITIONS<br />The Olympic Movement<br />-41910637540The Olympic Movement is a philosophy created and promoted by the International Olympic Committee. This philosophy advocates using sport not just as a physical activity but also as a means of educating people.<br />According to this philosophy, the good sportsmanship, sense of fair play, and respect for fellow athletes that is developed through participation in sports teaches men and women of different races, religions, and nationalities to work peacefully together in competition toward common goals. The Olympic Movement works to expand such lessons beyond the sports arena in the hope of promoting peace and a sense of brotherhood throughout the world.<br />The most prominent way the IOC promotes the Olympic Movement is through the Olympic Games. But the Movement's ideals are practiced in other ways, including the promotion of environmental issues, fighting drug use among athletes, and providing financial and educational aid.<br />What do the Olympic rings mean? <br />127000399415The colours of the interlinked Olympic rings were chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) , to represent the union of the 5 continents , Australia , Africa , America , Asia and Europe and further signify the meeting of the worlds athletes at the Olympic Games.<br />The plain white background of the Olympic flag is symbolic of peace throughout the games .<br />The five colours of the rings from left to right are blue, black and red across the top with yellow and green along the bottom , these colours may be found on most flags of the world and officially hold no other particular significance , although some believe each colour represents a particular continent<br />Blue =EuropeYellow =AsiaBlack =Africa Green =AustraliaRed =America<br />Flame and Torch<br />The ancient Greeks believed that fire was given to mankind by Prometheus, and considered fire to have sacred qualities. Eternal flames burned in front of Greek temples, flames lit using the rays of the sun. Greek rituals also included torch relays, although this was not actually part of the ancient Olympic Games.<br />24765-4038603594101947545The Olympic flame is lit in front of the ruins of the Temple of Hera in Olympia, emphasizing the connection between the ancient Games and the modern Games. An actress playing a high priestess uses a parabolic mirror to focus the rays of the sun, igniting a flame. (In case of cloudy weather, a backup flame is lit in advance.) A long relay of runners carrying torches brings it to the site of the Games. There, the final torch is used to light a cauldron that remains lit until it is extinguished in the Closing Ceremony.<br />The first such relay took place for the 1936 Berlin Games. 3,331 runners brought the flame through Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Germany. Similar relays have taken place for every Summer Games since. The 2004 relay is the first to start and end in Greece; it is also the first to visit every continent, crossing 34 cities in 27 countries before returning to Greece. The flame travels by plane between cities, and is relayed by foot within cities. Being a torch-bearer is considered an honor, one often given to local residents with a record of community service, in addition to athletes and celebrities. The torches generally burn a gas fuel, and are specially designed to resist the effects of wind and rain.<br />Since 1964, the Winter Games have also had a torch relay starting in Olympia. Of the three immediately preceding Winter Games, two (1952 and 1960) had torch relays starting in the fireplace of skiing pioneer Sondre Norheim, and one (1956) had a relay starting in Rome. The 1984 Winter Games were preceded by two torch relays, one from Norheim's fireplace, and the other from Olympia. The plan had been to mingle the two flames, lighting the cauldron with the combination, but this was disallowed; instead, only the Greek flame was used.<br />The Olympic Oath<br />The Olympic Oath is taken by one athlete and one judge from the home nation during the Opening Ceremony of every Olympics, acting on behalf of all the competitors and judges. Since 1984, this has been taken while holding a corner of the Olympic flag. Until then, the national flag of the home nation was used.<br />The oath was first taken by an athlete in 1920. Originally, this was primarily a declaration that all the athletes were amateurs. The wording has been revised considerably over the years, however; amateurism is no longer a general requirement, and a specific reference to doping was added in 2000. The current form is:24765215265<br />In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams."<br />The oath was first taken by a referee in 1972. The current form of that oath is:<br />"In the name of all the judges and officials, I promise that we shall officiate in these Olympic Games with complete impartiality, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship."<br />Rings and Flag<br />215265675005Each of the five Olympic rings is a different color. Together, they represent the five inhabited continents, although no particular ring is meant to represent any specific continent. (The Americas are treated as one continent.) The rings are interlaced to represent the idea that the Olympics are universal, bringing athletes from the entire world together.<br />The Olympic flag places the Olympic rings on a white background. As every national flag in the world contains at least one of the flag's six colors (black, blue, green, red, yellow, white), this further symbolizes the universality of the Olympics.<br />The Olympic rings and flag were designed by de Coubertin after the 1912 Games in Stockholm. Those Games were the first to include athletes from all five continents. The rings were going to be used in the 1916 Games, but those games were cancelled because of World War I, so the rings made their debut in the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Belgium.<br />Anthem<br />The Olympic Anthem was written for the first modern Games in 1896, composed by Spyros Samaras to lyrics written by Kostis Palamas. Each subsequent Olympics through 1956 had its own musical composition, played as the Olympic flag was raised during the Opening Ceremony. From the 1960 Games onward, the Samaras/Palamas work has been the official anthem played at every Olympics.<br />The English translation of the anthem is as follows:<br />24765114300Immortal spirit of antiquity<br />Father of the true, beautiful and good,<br />Descend, appear, shed over us thy light<br />Upon this ground and under this sky<br />Which has first witnessed thy unperishable fame<br />Give life and animation to those noble games!<br />Throw wreaths of fadeless flowers to the victors<br />In the race and in the strife!<br />Create in our breasts, hearts of steel!<br />In thy light, plains, mountains and seas<br />Shine in a roseate hue and form a vast temple<br />To which all nations throng to adore thee,<br />Oh immortal spirit of antiquity!<br />Motto<br />24765337820The Olympic motto is Citius—Altius—Fortius, which is Latin for "faster, higher, stronger." The intended meaning is that one's focus should be on bettering one's achievements, rather than on coming in first.<br />The motto has been with the Games from the foundation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894. It was proposed by the father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, who got it from a speech given by a friend of his, Henri Didon, a Dominican priest and principal of an academy that used sports as part of its educational program.<br />3939540280670Release of Doves<br />After the cauldron is lit, doves are released, as a symbol of peace. This was first done in the 1896 Olympics, and then in the 1920 Olympics. Since 1920, this has been an official part of the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Games. They are generally not released during the Winter Games, because it's too cold for the birds, but symbolic substitutions are sometimes used. In the 1994 Winter Games, for example, white balloons were released.<br />The order—first lighting the cauldron, then releasing the doves—is important. In the 1988 Seoul Games, they tried it the other way around. Unfortunately, many of the doves were in the area of the cauldron just before it burst into flames, leading to their unexpected demise.<br />What is the Olympic creed?<br />The Olympic creed was first stated in 1896 by the founder of the modern Olympic games , Baron Pierre de Coubertin , the words of the creed are as follows;<br />"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." <br />Closing statement<br />The president of the IOC pronounces the Games closed with the following statement:<br />"I declare the Games of the________(current) Olympiad closed, and in accordance with tradition, I call upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now at ____________(the site of the next Olympics), to celebrate with us there the Games of the_______ (next) Olympiad."<br />The Victory Ceremony62865488315<br />At the Ancient Games, winners were presented with a simple olive tree branch which was cut with a gold-handled knife from a wild olive tree. The Greeks believed that the vitality of the sacred 16287751097915tree was transmitted to the recipient through the branch.<br />At the Modern Games, Olympic medals are presented to the winning athletes who stand on a dais at the completion of their event. A GOLD medal is presented for first place, SILVER for second and BRONZE for third. The host city is responsible for designing the medals within the guidelines set by the IOC.<br />The national anthem of the winner is played as each medalist’s national flag is raised.<br />MODERN OLYMPIC GAMES<br />1896 Athens<br />-80010217805It is universally accepted that Baron de Coubertin masterminded the Modern Olympic Games. It was fitting that first 'Modern' celebration was fittingly held in Athens, the scene of those ancient games.<br />What struck me about the history of the Olympic Games is that the early celebrations, with their amateur status, produced more fascinating sporting incidents than the slick professional games of the last 20 years.<br />On 6 April 1896, the American James Connolly won the triple jump to become the first Olympic champion in more than 1,500 years. For these first Olympics, winners were awarded a crown of olive branches and a silver medal. <br />The people of Athens greeted the Games with great enthusiasm. Their support was rewarded when a Greek, Spiridon Louis, won their most popular event, the marathon. Naturally, the race stated in the city of Marathon and Louis must have been able to enjoy his fantastic reception since he was 6 minutes clear at the end.<br />Alfred Hajos won both the 100m and the 1,200m swimming events. For the longer race, the competitors were shipped out into the lake and then swam back to shore. According to Hajos, 'I must say that I shivered at the thought of what would happen if I got a cramp from the cold water. My will to live completely overcame my desire to win.' <br />An Olympic Anthem composed by Spyros Samaras was played at the Athens. For the next 60 year a variety of musical compositions provided the backgrounds to the Opening Ceremonies, then in 1960, the Samaras composition became the official Olympic Anthem.<br />1900 Paris<br />left414020A feature for the next 4 or 5 games was how interminably long they were. The Athens Olympics was over in a reasonable 8 days, but the Paris games went on, and on, for 5 months.<br />The number of nations represented had doubled to 28, and there were now 75 events to contest. Unlike 1896, women made their appearance in these games. Tennis was the new popular sport and Charlotte Cooper of Great Britain won the ladies singles.<br />I found it surprising that athletes entered as individuals; indeed, there was no concept of national trials until the 1908 games. It is rumoured that in some team sports, competitors did not realise they were competing in the Olympic Games. This may explain why teams comprising members of different nationalities were acceptable. What price a rowing team in 2008 with an Englishman, Irishman, German and American!<br />Records were haphazard, and to this day the names, and especially the nationality of some medallists are not known. For instance, medals won by Canada were not discovered for some years as the athlete in question, George Orton, had been entered by his American university and had been registered as an American. One side effect is that the all time records for how many medals countries have won can never be truly settled. This uncertainty can only be beneficial as it throws the focus back on individual champions. Indeed, while the 1900 winners were champions all, none received a gold medal.<br />1904 St. Louis <br />The 1904 St. Louis Olympics organizers repeated the mistakes of 1900. The Olympic were spread out over four months, and in truth, were upstaged by World Fair. <br />The atmosphere was one of American inter-collegiate championships. To illustrate the point, of the 94 events 52 were functionally closed events, contested by athletes only from the USA.<br />The 1904 Olympics produced innovations, they were the first to award gold, silver and bronze medals. <br />For the only time in the Olympics, the 220 yds (200M) was run on a straight course, no bends. Another unusual feature was the winner, Archie Hahn, got a handy 1 yd start on each of his three opponents. This was not because they were professionals but because they false-started and in 1904 the penalty for jumping the gun was a 1 yd penalty. Could this idea make a come-back?<br />Boxing and freestyle wrestling made their debuts. Marathon runners Len Tau and Jan Mashiani, Tswana tribesmen who were in St. Louis as part of the Boer War exhibit at the World's Fair, became the first Africans to compete in the Olympics. <br />One of the most remarkable athletes was the American gymnast George Eyser, who won six medals even though his left leg was made of wood. Chicago runner James Lightbody won the steeplechase and the 800m and then set a world record in the 1,500m.<br />1908 London<br />Whilst this London games was a better organized and more cosmopolitan celebration than St. Louis, it still went on and on for more than 4 months.<br />London was the first official Olympics where athletes marched into the stadium behind their respective national flags. <br />With over 100 events and more than 2,000 competitors the level of competition was high but controversy and national rivalry still left a bitter taste on the Games. <br />A total of 21 different sports featured, including ice skating, while bicycle-polo featured as a demonstration sport. <br />The shape and size of the running track had yet to be standardized, and the 68,000-seater stadium in Shepherds Bush held a 660 yd track making 3 laps to the mile. <br />Politics reared its head almost immediately. The USA team spotted that there was no American flag among the national flags decorating the stadium for the opening ceremonies. As a result USA flag-bearer Martin Sheridan responded by refusing to dip the Stars and Stripes as he passed King Edward VII's box in the parade of athletes. 'This flag dips to no earthly king,' Sheridan said. <br />As a prelude to a sub-plot in the 'Chariots of Fire' story in 1924, Forrest Smithson protested at having to run on a Sunday. Legend has it he ran, and won, holding a bible.<br />The classic marathon distance of 26 miles and 365 yards was fixed once and for all in the London Marathon. The peculiar distance came about when the course from Windsor Great Park to Shepherds Bush was extended by a mile and 365 yards so that it finished at the Royal Box. <br />The London marathon staged the most controversial happening in all Olympic Marathons. The race had been uneventful until Dorando Pietri of Italy staggered into the stadium, and then collapsed. Perhaps you have seen the grainy film of him being half-carried across the finish line. Some say Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was of those who helped the stricken runner.<br />1912 Stockholm<br />177165393065Hooray! The Stockholm celebration of the Olympic Games was reduced to 10 weeks. 1924 was the first Olympic Games where the athletes were accommodated in an Olympic Village, a group of wood cabins.<br />By tradition, each host country is allowed to stage an event of their choice, after all they are laying on the games. In 1912 the Swedes introduced the modern Pentathlon and it was no surprise that they dominated the event. However, who should be in 5th place, future American General, George S. Patton.<br />The Americans sailed to Europe in the liner 'Finland' . This was an omen for the middle distances which were dominated by Kolehmainen. In the 5,000 M Kolehmainen was pushed so hard by Bouin of France that he knocked over 20 seconds of the world record.<br />In this era produced some colourful swimming champions, in the 1912 Olympics Duke Paoa Kahanamoku won the blue-riband event - 100m freestyle. Duke seemed an unlikely 'moniker' for a Hawaiian, but research show that his royal parents named him after the Duke of Edinburgh (Queen Victoria's second son).<br />For many, Jim Thorpe was the greatest athlete of the era. He did not just win the 1912 Olympic Pentathlon and Decathlon but he annihilated the opposition. The name Jim Thorpe is also famous as he was controversially disqualified for alleged professionalism. Some say there as anti-Indian prejudice, others say it was personal animosity between Thorpe and Avery Brundage (Later IOC president) who was 5th in the pentathlon.<br />1916 Berlin scheduled cancelled due to WW1<br />1920 Antwerp<br />Antwerp saw the birth of the famous Olympic flag made by interlocking five circles. The idea was to represent the unity and friendship of the human race. This was the first games where one of the athletes took the Olympic oath-uttered, the honour in Antwerp fell to the Belgium fencer Victor Bion.<br />1920 also saw a repeat of the first Olympiad, when doves were released to symbolise peace between the nations. <br />Finland usurped the American dominance on the track thanks to Koiehmainen and the legendary Paavo Nurmi who won three medals, two gold and one silver, at the start of his illustrious Olympic career. <br />South America claimed their first gold medal in 1920 when Guilherme Paraense of Brazil won the rapid-fire pistol event, whilst Willie Lee and Lloyd Spooner of America celebrated four and five golds respectively. <br />Elsewhere, American diver Aileen Riggin became the youngest gold medal winner at just 14 years and 119 days. <br />Great Britain's Philip Noel-Baker won silver in the 1500m, and later went on to become an MP. In 1959, he became the only Olympian to ever be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. <br />Suzanne Lenglen (FRA-tennis), one of the greatest women tennis players of all time, won the Olympic title by losing only four games. She teamed up with Max Decugis (FRA) to win another gold medal in mixed doubles and with Elisabeth d' Ayen (FRA) to win a bronze in women's doubles.<br />1924 Paris<br />The 1924 Games saw American William DeHart Hubbard became the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal; he triumphed in the long jump. <br />His compatriot Robert LeGendre broke the long jump world record with a leap of 7.76m, but this was in the pentathlon, and he had to settle for bronze. <br />Paavo Nurmi (FIN-athletics) had a crazy programme. He participated in the 1,500 and 5,000m, the finals of which were less than an hour apart, in the 3,000m, both individual and team events, as well as the cross-country! Nurmi obtained an incredible five titles. Nurmi was honoured for his achievements when a his statue was erected outside Helsinki stadium. <br />Great Britain scored two major victories when Harold Abrahams became the first European to win an Olympic sprint medal, while Eric Liddell took the gold in the 400m in a time of 47.6 seconds. Lidell's time was a world record, but was not officially recognised because the runners only had to run around one bend until 1936. <br />The gold medals won by British runners Harold Abrahams in the 100 meters and Eric Liddell in the 400 were chronicled in the 1981 Academy Award-winning film 'Chariots of Fire.' The movie, however, was not based on fact. Liddell, a devout Christian, knew months in advance that the preliminary for the 100 (his best event) was on a Sunday, so he had plenty of time to change plans and train for the 400. <br />Speaking of the movies, Johnny Weissmuller of USA won three swimming gold medals in the 100 and 400-meter freestyles and the 4x200 freestyle relay. He would later become Hollywood's most famous Tarzan<br />At the 1924 Paris Games, the Olympic motto, 'Citius, Altius, Fortius', (Swifter, Higher, Stronger) was introduced, as was the Closing Ceremony ritual of raising three flags: the flag of the International Olympic Committee, the flag of the host nation and the flag of the next host nation. The number of participating nations jumped from 29 to 44, signalling widespread acceptance of the Olympics as a major event, as did the presence of 1,000 journalists. Women's fencing made its debut as Ellen Osiier of Denmark earned the gold medal without losing a single bout. <br />American swimmer Gertrude Ederle won a bronze medal in the 100m freestyle. Two years later she caused a sensation by becoming the first woman to swim across the English Channel (La Manche) - and in a time almost two hours faster than any man had ever achieved. Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi, won five gold medals to add to the three he had won in 1920. His most spectacular performance occurred on 10 July. First he easily won the 1,500m. Then, a mere 55 minutes later, he returned to the track and won the 5,000m. Nurmi's team-mate, Ville Ritola, did not do badly either in 1924: he won four gold medals and two silver.<br />Tennis made its last appearance before being brought back more than 60 years later at Seoul. The IOC, which was fiercely anti-professional, had doubts whether the game's top players were truly amateurs. <br />1928 Amsterdam<br />The 1928 Amsterdam celebration was opened by Prince Hendik, consort of Queen Wilhelmina. Amsterdam also saw the introduction of the now synonymous Olympic flame, which was kept alight throughout the duration of the Games. <br />Lord Burghley won the 400m Hurdles and Crown Prince (later King Olav) won a gold medal in yachting.<br />In the sprints, Canada's Percy Williams became the first non-American to win both the 100 and 200. Finland claimed four running titles, including Paavo Nurmi's victory in the 10,000 meters-his ninth overall gold medal in three Olympic Games. Teammate and arch-rival Ville Ritola placed second in the 10,000 and outran Nurmi in the 5,000.<br />These Games marked Germany's return to the Olympic fold after serving a 10-year probation for its ' aggressiveness' in World War I. It was also the first Olympics that women were allowed to participate in track and field (despite objections from Pope Pius IX). And in swimming, the USA. got double gold performances from Martha Norelius, Albina Osipowich and Johnny Weissmuller, as well as diver Pete Desjardins.<br />Perhaps the Games were best exemplified by the experience of Australian rower Henry Pearce. Midway through his quarterfinal race, he stopped rowing to allow a family of ducks to pass single file in front of his boat. Pearce won the race anyway and, later, the gold medal as well. <br />At the Opening Ceremony, the team from Greece led the Parade of Nations and the host Dutch team marched in last. Greece first, hosts last would become a permanent part of the Olympic protocol. <br />Athletes from 28 different nations won gold medals in Amsterdam, a record that would last for 40 years. The number of female athletes more than doubled as women were finally allowed to compete in gymnastics and athletics. For the first time, Asian athletes won gold medals. Mikio Oda of Japan won the triple jump, while his team-mate, Yoshiyuki Tsuruta, won the 200m breaststroke. <br />Between 1928 and 1960, Indian teams won six straight gold medals in men's Hockey. Another winning streak began in 1928. Hungary earned the first of seven consecutive gold medals in team sabre fencing.<br />Luigina Giavotti became the youngest ever medallist when she gained silver in gymnastics at 11 years and 302 days, an Olympic record which still stands today. <br />1932 Los Angeles<br />Firsts for the 1932 Olympics: <br />Village to house men<br />Victory Stand<br />Photo Finish Camera<br />First to shorten 16 days previously 80 days.<br />Mildred (Babe) Didrikson<br />In the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, Mildred (Babe) Didrikson won gold medals and broke her own world records in both the javelin and the 80-meter hurdles. <br />In the high-jump she was awarded the silver in the high jump despite clearing a world-record height. The judge's strange reasoning was because they disliked her technique of clearing the bar headfirst. <br />For sheer athletic ability, Babe Didrikson may have been more versatile than Jim Thorpe. She led the Dallas Cyclones to three AAU national basketball championships and scored 106 points in one game. <br />After the Olympic Games Babe Didrikson pitched for the House of David men's baseball team and once struck out Joe DiMaggio. Pro basketball, billiards, handball, swimming, diving, lacrosse, football, boxing -- she did them all and, as she was quick to point out, she did them better than the next person. She was good at everything -- typing (86 words a minute), gin rummy, cooking, dancing, harmonica playing and crossword puzzles. <br />1936 Berlin<br />1936 saw the introduction of the torch relay, in which a lighted torch is carried from Olympia to the site of the current Games. The 1936 Olympics were also the first to be broadcast on a form of television. Twenty-five large screens were set up throughout Berlin, allowing the local people to see the Games for free. Basketball, canoeing and team handball made their first appearances, while polo was included in the Olympic programme for the last time. <br />At the Big Ten Track and Field Championships of 1935, Ohio State's Jesse Owens equalled or set world records in four events: the 100 and 220-yard dashes, 200-yard low hurdles and the long jump. He was also credited with world marks in the 200-meter run and 200-meter hurdles. That's six world records in one afternoon, and he did it all in 45 minutes!<br />The following year, he swept the 100 and 200 meters and long jump at the Olympic Trials and headed for Germany favoured to win all three.<br />In Berlin, dictator Adolf Hitler and his Nazi followers felt sure that the Olympics would be the ideal venue to demonstrate Germany's oft-stated racial superiority. He directed that $25 million be spent on the finest facilities, the cleanest streets and the temporary withdrawal of all outward signs of the state-run anti-Jewish campaign. By the time over 4,000 athletes from 49 countries arrived for the Games, the stage was set.<br />Then Owens, a black sharecropper's son from Alabama, stole the show-winning his three individual events and adding a fourth gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay. The fact that four other American blacks also won did little to please Herr Hitler, but the applause from the German crowds, especially for Owens, was thunderous. <br />The top female performers in Berlin were 17-year-old Dutch swimmer Rie Mastenbroek, who won three gold medals, and 18-year-old American runner Helen Stephens, who captured the 100 meters and anchored the winning 4x100-meter relay team.<br />Thirteen-year-old Marjorie Gestring of the United States won the gold medal in springboard diving. She remains the youngest female gold medallist in the history of the Summer Olympics. Inge Sorensen of Denmark earned a bronze medal in the 200-medal breaststroke at the age of 12, making her the youngest medalist ever in an individual event. <br />Hungarian water polo player Olivier Halassy won his third medal despite the fact that one of his legs had been amputated below the knee following a streetcar accident. Rower Jack Beresford of Great Britain won a gold medal in the double sculls event, marking the fifth Olympics at which he earned a medal. Kristjan Palusalu of Estonia won the heavyweight division in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.<br />Germany won only five gold medals in men's and women's track and field, but saved face for the 'master race' in the overall medal count with an 89-56 margin over the United States.<br />1940 Tokyo (XII) scheduled, cancelled due to WW2<br />1944 London (XIII) scheduled, cancelled due to WW2<br />XIV. 1948 London<br />Coming so soon after the end of World War II the 1948 Olympics showed little of the pageantry or bombast of the Berlin Games. <br />Yet out of these unassuming Games came one of the most remarkable achievements: the four-gold performance of Fanny Blankers-Koen, a 32-year-old mother of two from the Netherlands. On the fifth day of competition, when an American sweep of the men's high hurdles led coverage in the Times, Blankers-Koen was deemed ' remarkable' for her victory in the 80-meter hurdles, having previously won the 100-meter dash. <br />At 30, she was the oldest woman in track and field at those Olympics, and also the most successful. She ran 11 races in seven days and won them all. They produced four gold medalsin the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, the 80-meter hurdles and the 4x100-meter relay. She almost quit after two gold medals because she missed her son and daughter and wanted to go home, but her husband talked her into staying. <br />In 1936, Fanny Blankers-Koen emerged from the Berlin Olympics with fifth place in the high jump, fifth in the 4x100-meter relay, and Jesse Owens's autograph. She kept training during World War II, even when the Germans sent many of her friends to concentration camps. <br />XV. 1952 Helsinki<br />The 1952 Helsinki Games began dramatically as Paavo Nurmi, now 55 years old, carried the torch into the stadium and handed it to Hannes Kolehmainen, now 62, who lit the cauldron. <br />One of the first women allowed to compete against men in the equestrian dressage was Lis Hartel of Denmark. Despite being paralyzed below the knees after an attack of polio, Hartel, who had to be helped on and off her horse, won a silver medal. Lars Hall, a carpenter from Sweden, became the first non-military winner of the modern pentathlon. <br />Back in 1924, Bill Havens had been chosen to represent the United States in coxed eights rowing, but declined in order to stay home with his wife, who was expecting their first child. Twenty-eight years later, that child, Frank Havens, won a gold medal in the Canadian singles 10,000m canoeing event.<br />Bob Mathias (USA-athletics) was the first person to win two successive Olympic decathlon titles. After a first gold medal in 1948 when, as a 17-year-old, he became the youngest-ever winner of an Olympic track and field event, he set the world record defending his title.<br />The Soviet Union returned to the Olympic fold in 1952 after a 40-year absence, a period of time that included a revolution and two world wars. Ironically, the Soviets chose to make their comeback in Finland, a country they had invaded twice during World War II.<br />This time it was the United States that was surprised by the Soviets, and the USA had to scramble on the last day of competition to hold off the USSR's assault on first place in the overall standings. It was the beginning of an all-consuming 36-year Cold War rivalry.<br />Despite the Soviets' impressive debut, it was a Communist from another Iron Curtain country who turned in the most memorable individual performance of the Games. Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia, the 10,000-meter champion in London, not only repeated at 10,000 meters, but also won at 5,000 and in the marathon-an event he had never run before. He also set Olympic records in each race and topped it off by watching his wife Dana Zatopek the women's javelin.<br />Also, Harrison Dillard of the U.S. won the 110-meter hurdles. In 1948, Dillard, the world's best hurdler, failed to qualify for the hurdles and won the 100-meter dash instead.<br />XVI. 1956 Melbourne<br />Melbourne were the first southern hemisphere city to hold the summer games. However, strict quarantine regulations on horses meant that the equestrian events had to be held in Stockholm. <br />Once again political unrest in Europe and the Middle East unsettled the games. Britain became involved with Suez, while the USSR invaded Hungary.<br />As ever there were memorable races on the running track where Vladamir Kuts broke the world record at both 5,000 and 10,000 meters. Zatopek was now passed his best and his long time rival Alain Mimoun finally bested him in the marathon.<br />While Holland, Switzerland and Spain boycotted the games because of the Soviet invasion of Hungary; the Hungarians themselves still took part, and cheered Laslo Papp to win a boxing gold medal. The water polo match between Hungary and USSR turned ugly, and the game had to be abandoned. However, as Hungary were leading 4-0 it was they progressed and went on to win the gold medal. <br />Chris Brasher (Great Britain) 3000 metre steeplechase winner<br />Chris Brasher was an unexpected winner of the steeplechase, sprinting to a 15 metre victory. A short time after the race it was announced that he had been disqualified for interfering with Ernst Larsen, the Norwegian runner who had finished third. Larsen agreed that he had been bumped by Brasher but indicated that he did not support the disqualification. Sandor Rozsynyoi of Hungary who finished second also supported Brasher. After an agonising wait of three hours, Brasher's disqualification was overturned and he was reinstated as the winner.<br />In later life Chris Brasher co-founded the London Marathon. In earlier life Chris Brasher paced Roger Bannister to the first ever sub-minute four minute mile.<br />Dawn Frazer was the star of the swimming pool winning the 100 M freestyle. She became the first swimmer to win the same event at three consecutive games when she won at Rome then Tokyo.<br />XVII. 1960 Rome<br />Rome narrowly missed hosting the 1908. This ancient city had all the natural attractions to give the Olympic Games due ambience and gravitas.<br />The marathon started on Capitol hill and finished not in the stadium, but on the Appian way. The event was won by the first of many great Ethiopian runners Abebe Bikila. He was born on the 7th August 1932, the day of the Los Angeles Olympic marathon. Back in 1960 no-one had realized the potential of this small country to produce great distance runners and it was a hug surprise that the unknown barefoot Abebe Bikila won the marathon. However he proved it no fluke by winning the again at the Tokyo Olympics.<br />Yachting always holds a strange fascination for me. Firstly I cannot see how one man or women can consistently beat the rest when the all have identical boats. But the main reason I am fascinated is that older, not athletic types often win the races. In 1960, crown prince, later King Constantine of Greece, won a gold medal in the Dragon class. As a royal prince, there was only one person who dared to give him the traditional winners ducking - his mother Queen Frederika. (I cannot visualise Queen Elizabeth ever giving any of her children a royal ducking in public.)<br />Other highlights<br />Also on the track Peter Snell and Herb Elliot defied the heat to win the 800M and 1500M respectively. Wilma Rudolph caught the eye in the women's 100 and 200M sprints. In fact Wilma had an inspirational tale to tell, she recovered from childhood polio.<br />XVIII. 1964 Tokyo HYPERLINK "" <br />My memory of the Tokyo Olympics is getting up early to watch the Television - no VCR back in those days. What still haunts me is theme tune - Tokyo melody.<br />American swimmer Don Schollander won four gold medals. Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia became the first repeat winner of the marathon - less than six weeks after having his appendix removed. Russian rower Vyacheslav Ivanov won the single sculls for the third time, and Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser won the 100m freestyle for the third time. <br />Al Oerter of the United States is one of my top 10 Olympic heroes. He won his third discus gold medal in the Tokyo games, and would go on to win a fourth in Mexico city. In 1964 he won despite a cervical disc injury that forced him to wear a neck harness. Hungarian water polo player Dezso Gyarmati won his fifth medal in a row. <br />Another Hungarian, Greco-Roman wrestler Imre Polyak, finally won a gold medal after finishing second in the same division at the previous three Olympics. By winning two medals of each kind, Larysa Latynina of the Ukraine brought her career medal total to an incredible 18. She is also one of only four athletes in any sport to win nine gold medals.<br />XIX. 1968 Mexico<br />Bob Beamon is one of a hand full of athletes that is synonymous with an Olympic Games and an event. His spectacular long jump of 8.90m lasted as a world record for 22 years.<br />13906538100At the Mexico Olympics, we had the first Summer Games to include sex testing for women. It was fitting that the Mexican hurdler Enriqueta Basilio became the first woman to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony. While Eulalia Rolinska of Poland and Gladys de Seminario of Peru were the first women to compete in shooting.<br />Wyomia Tyus of the United States became the first repeat winner of the 100m. There was a more sinister, and a longer lasting image in the medal ceremony of the men's 200m; Tommie Smith and John Carlos made their symbolic black-gloved salute. You can just about see that Smith has a glove on his right hand, whereas Carlos has the other glove on his left hand.<br />The 1968 Games also saw the first drug disqualification, as a Swedish entrant in the modern pentathlon, Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, tested positive ...... for excessive alcohol.<br />American high jumper Dick Fosbury won gold with his 'flop' style that was to revolutionise the event and replace the conventional straddle technique. <br />One of those to find out just how disadvantaged most of the competitors would be was the great Australian distance runner Ron Clarke. Clarke held the world record for the 10,000m. But he was beaten as much by the altitude as the African runners lead by Temu.<br />The biggest cheer in the student union, where I watched most of the events, was when David Hemery blasted out of the blocks, obliterated the competition, and shattered the world record for the 400m hurdles.<br />XX. 1972 Munich<br />62865487680These games have been for ever tainted by the massacre of Israeli athletes by Arab terrorists. I pray that such an atrocity will never mar the games again. At the time, and since, I marvel at the dignified behaviour of the Israelis. No-one really knew whether the games should continue. Perhaps the deciding logic was that those who died would have wished the Olympics to carry on rather than be aborted.<br />On a brighter note Olga Korbut entranced us by her gymnastic interpretations. Perhaps there have been better pure gymnastics, but she was a breath of fresh air and captured our hearts. There is often a saying that such and such cricket or baseball star could clear a bar, and make everyone go out and watch the action, well Olga Korbut had that star quality, you wanted to see her even if you were not a regular fan of gymnastics.<br />Another star to immerge from the water was Mark Spitz. Perhaps the greatest testament to his ability is that every new great swimmer is touted as the new Mark Spitz. His record of 7 gold medals at one Olympic games stood until Michael Phelps won 8 in Beijing.<br />Apart from Mark Spitz, the American invincibility was shattered. It reminded my of a gambler's loosing streak when you cannot find a winner no matter what you do, flat horses fall in the straight, stewards disqualify your winners, your horse turns out to have been doped; American athletes found these and even more bizarre ways of losing.<br />Firstly, two American's mistake the time of the 2nd round heat so they miss the race and are out of the competition. The pole vaulters suffer because of a rule change in the specification of their poles. Jim Ryan the great hope for the 1500M fell. But the biggest fiasco was the American Basketball that somehow lost to the USSR by a miracle basket in the last second. While the legality of that last basket is challenged to this day, if you look in the results sheet, the USSR still have the gold medals.<br />XXI. 1976 Montreal<br />In 1976, Princess Anne was a member of the English equestrian team in the Montreal Olympics. In the only exception to qualifying standards in Olympic history, she was exempted from the mandatory physical examination.<br />'The horse is about the only person who does not know you are Royal' Princess Anne IOC committee member<br />34290450215Despite persistent rumours and urban myths, Princess Anne did not win a medal of any colour at these or any other Olympic Games.<br />When the Games finally got started, our hearts were quickly stolen by 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, who scored seven perfect 10s on her way to three gold medals.<br />East Germany's Kornelia Ender did Comaneci one better, winning four times as the GDR captured 11 of 13 events in women's swimming. John Naber (4 gold) and the U.S. men did the East German women one better when they won 12 of 13 gold medals in swimming.<br />In track and field, Cuba's Alberto Juantorena won the 400 and 800-meter runs, and Finland's Lasse Viren took the 5,000 and 10,000. Viren missed a third gold when he placed fifth in the marathon.<br />Four Americans who became household names during the Games were decathlon winner Bruce Jenner and three future world boxing champions-Ray Leonard and the Spinks brothers, Michael and Leon.<br />While Greg Joy put some shine on Canada's record when he won a silver medal in the high jump, however, Canada became the first host country not to win a gold medal.<br />XXII. 1980 Moscow<br />The 1980 Olympics in Moscow were strange because there was no America team. As a consequence the Soviet Union (hosts) and East Germany dominated the medal table. As a result no other country collected more than 8 gold medals.<br />This was the era when one country or another sought to make a political point by boycotting the Olympic Games. Will and Guy muse that it's a shame more politicians aren't sportsmen and sportswomen, then they may see the good that the game do.<br />British highlights include Allan Wells winning the 100m and Coe and Ovett winning the 1500m and 800m respectively. In the swimming pool Duncan Goodhew - he of the bald head - won the 100m breaststroke. He later went on to be an outstanding sports ambassador<br />Teofilo Stevenson of Cuba won the heavyweight gold medal for the third time. While it is a shame he never turned professional, his record of three successive gold medals at this weight will never be beaten.<br />It may never be known how little or how much drug taking took place at these Moscow Olympic Games. The fact that there were no reported positive tests is suspicious in itself - in the sense that the drug cheats had superior chemistry than the testers. Two world records that stand to this day are under particular suspicion of being drug fuelled. Both were set by East German women, the 4x100m relay time of 41.6 and the 800m in 1:53:43.<br />Daley Thomson<br />Daley Thompson won gold in the Decathlon. He would win again in 1984. His arch rival, Jurgen Hingsen, was so much bigger it seemed unfair. Hingsen's best for the individual events was better than Thompson's yet in ten head-to-head competitions Daley Thompson won every time. This leads Will and Guy to think that even among Olympians, we doubt if any were more dedicated, single minded or just plain determined to win than Daley Thompson. <br />XXIII. 1984 Los Angeles<br />There was only one contender who bid for the 1984 games - Los Angeles. Other countries were put off after the terrorist atrocities at Munich in 1972.<br />When it comes to organizing the big event, you have to hand it to America in general, and Los Angeles in particular. Without the state aid of other celebrations, they showed the rest of the world how to lay on an Olympic Games and make a profit. Poor Montreal looked on enviously, as they are still paying for their hosting to this day. In retrospect, those countries like Russia who boycotted these games wish that they had been there.<br />Much as Will and Guy love football (soccer) we think that team games like this have no part in the Olympic Games, especially as they have their own World Cup.<br />On the track, this was Carl Lewis's game, he equalled the record of the great Jesse Owens by winning gold medals in the same 4 events, 100m, 200m, Long Jump and the sprint relay. The great Ed Moses won the 400m hurdles.<br />America did not have things all their own way, the crowd's darling Mary Decker was accidentally tripped by Zola Budd in the 3000m. Also Britain had success with Sebastian Coe in the 1500M<br />No two Olympic Games have the same events, in 1984 tennis made a re-appearance (another event Will and Guy would ban), ditto synchronized swimming.<br />XXIV. 1988 Seoul HYPERLINK "" <br />Kristin Otto of East Germany won six gold medals in the swimming pool, while Matt Biondi won five and Janet Evans three. <br />One tradition if for the host country to introduce a game of their choice. In Korea, table tennis made its first appearance in the Olympic Games.<br />Vitaly Scherbo won six gold medals, including a record four in one day. Only Marc Spitz has more medals at one games.<br />Greg Louganis qualified for the springboard final despite hitting his head on the board. He went on to win the final, to follow up his achievement of winning the same event 4 years earlier. <br />China's Fu Mingxia, 13, won the women's platform diving gold, becoming the second-youngest person to win an individual gold medal. <br />After two failures, Sergey Bubka won the gold medal on his final jump in the pole vault. In 1992 he would fail to clear any height. <br />XXV. 1992 Barcelona<br />110490877570Thankfully the boycotts were now over, and all the top countries attended. For the first time since 1960 there was a united German team. Talking of teams, basketball allowed professionals, thus it was a shoo-in for the Americans with their dream team lead by Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.<br />The star of gymnastics was Vitaly Scherbo from Belarus who won 4 gold medals on one day and 6 overall.<br />On the athletics track Linford Christie won the 'blue riband' event, the 100m. Sally Gunnell, also of Great Britain, won the women's 400m hurdles. As so often, the Americans won the 100m and 400m relays. Will and Guy muse on Carl Lewis (100m) metaphorically passing the baton to Michael Johnson (400m) although they ran different distances, these two were the best sprinters of their generation.<br />In marathon, the Olympic finale, Young-jo Hwang made history for Korea. His marathon victory came as many as 56 years after Kee-Jung Sohn won the Olympic marathon in Berlin in 1936 as a member of the Japanese team. The 80-year-old Sohn was moved to tears to watch Hwang crowned with the laurel of victory.<br />XXVI. 1996 Atlanta HYPERLINK "" <br />Games were given a dramatic start when the cauldron was lit by Mohammad Ali.<br />Carl Lewis became only the fourth person to win the same individual event four times and the fourth person to earn a ninth gold medal.<br />In the second round of the middleweight (82kg) freestyle wrestling tournament, Elmadi Jabrailov of Kazakhstan faced Tucuman Jabrailov of Moldova. The two were brothers from Chechnya, but chose not to represent Russia because of its war against their homeland. Elmadi won the high-scoring but unusually friendly encounter by 10 points to 8. <br />Sailor Hubert Raudaschl (AUT) became the first person ever to compete in nine Olympics. Before he began his streak in 1964, he was a reserve in 1960.<br />Michael Johnson's (USA-athletics) double success over 200 and 400m was the first for a man in Olympic history. His victory over 200m in 19.32 seconds established a new world record which, in terms of quality, came close to the 8.90m in the long jump with which Bob Beamon astonished the world in Mexico in 1968.<br />Naim Suleymanoglu (TUR-weightlifting) became the first weightlifter in history to win three consecutive Olympic titles.' When he eats at a restaurant, nobody asks him to pay the bill; if he breaks the speed limit, he does not get fined, and the police wish him a pleasant journey, 'wrote a Turkish journalist. <br />XXVII. 2000 Sydney HYPERLINK "" <br />2901315642620Home favourite Cathy Freeman was the star of a spectacular opening ceremony which celebrated the Olympian ideal and Aussie culture. She then became the first Aboriginal to win track gold - to the delight of a rapturous capacity crowd.<br />Britain's Steve Redgrave confirmed his place in the Olympic Hall of Fame with a fifth straight rowing gold medal in the coxless fours event - one of 11 British golds in Sydney. <br />Maurice Greene cemented his reputation as the world's fastest man with victory in the 100m, while fellow American Michael Johnson became the first man to successfully defend the Olympic 400m crown. <br />American runner Marion Jones became the first woman to win five medals in athletics at one Olympics. I wonder if her performances, like Ben Johnson years earlier, will be expunged from the records?<br />The swimming competition was dominated by 17-year-old Australian Ian Thorpe, who won broke his own world record to claim gold in the 400m freestyle. He then went on to win another two gold and two silver medals. <br />However, the most prolific medal winner at Sydney was not Jones or Thorpe.<br />He may not have grabbed many headlines, but gymnast Alexei Nemov took six medals back to Russia with him, equalling his Atlanta tally four years ago. <br />XXVIII. 2004 Athens <br />The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece from August 13th to August 29th, 2004 with the motto "Welcome Home". <br />72390334645Athens 2004 marked the first time since the 1996 Summer Olympics that all countries with a National Olympic Committee were in attendance. It was also the first time since 1896 that the Olympics were held in Greece.<br />10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team officials from 201 countries. Therewere 301 medal events in 28 different sports. <br />Kostas Kenteris and Ekaterini Thanou were rightly banned for failing to turn up for a drugs test. While their story of a motorcycle crash was fascinating, few believe it was a true account of that evening. This saga contrasts with the 1980 Moscow Olympics where drug taking was probably rife, but those who tried to catch the cheats were hamstrung by ineffective rules and tests.<br />British pride was given a boost when Kelly Holmes won both the women's 800m and 1500m on the athletics track. We British had another boost when our men won the 4x100m relay in a photo finish from the USA.<br />XXIX. 2008 Beijing<br />The 8th August 2008 is an important date in the Olympic calendar, because that is when the XXIX Olympic Games officially open in Beijing, China. The eyes of the world will focus on China as the world's largest outside extravaganza begins. As with all festivals held in the open air one thing is paramount to ensure the attendance of tourists, athletes, locals and the media: that is, of course, the weather. <br />Now, the Chinese have, throughout history, been extraordinarily clever in their invention and ability to use their natural surroundings. But, can they, are they able or ready to work on the most unpredictable of all the elements - the rain and, indeed, the Summer is the rainy season in this area of China? <br />Will and Guy have learned that the Beijing Olympic organisers are going to do just that because they are determined that nothing will spoil their party. <br />We know that the organisers have ordered a team of climatologists to do the impossible: make sure it doesn't rain during the opening ceremony on 8th August. This team has been trained, we have discovered, and their preparations are complete reported Wang Jianjie, a spokeswoman for the Beijing Meteorological Bureau. <br />These imaginative scientists have perfected a complex technique, involving catalytic agents, which will reduce the size of raindrops; this would delay any rain until the overhead clouds move further away or conversely, make it rain before it reaches the stadium. They will use this method over the 91,000 seater Olympic Stadium, [nicknamed the 'bird's nest'] effectively creating 'a meteorological umbrella'. <br />Will and Guy are unable to confirm the veracity of these statements but await developments with bated breath.<br />The Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium<br />Herzog and DeMeuron of Switzerland together with the China Architecture Design Institute designed this 'Birds Nest'. There was certainly nothing like it when Beijing was known as Peking. It is located at Olympic Green and seats 91,000 spectators, it will host the athletics and also the football. Here is a photo, taken at night, the National Stadium for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.lefttop<br />Will and Guy have learned that China is organising classes in cheering aimed at preparing Chinese sports fans for the Olympic Games next year. For the Chinese government, the Beijing Olympics are a big part of the country's emergence onto the international stage. It wants the games to be perfect - right down to the applause. Therefore, the Chinese are training volunteers on the finer points of cheering, including when to clap and the importance of avoiding unsporting behaviour. <br />XXX. 2012 London <br />234315245110London will host the Olympic Games for the third time after previous games in 1908 and 1948. This makes London the first city to host the modern Olympics for a third time. The games are expected to be close to downtown London around 20 min from 80% of the sporting events.<br />26 sports with a total of 39 disciplines feature in the 2012 London Games. The Olympic Village will be based in Stratford, including the newly built Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, Hockey Centre, Velodrome and a BMX trac<br />XXXI. 2016 Rio Janeiro<br />26536651020445The city of Rio de Janeiro will host the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. This followed three rounds of voting by members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 2 October 2009 at the 121st IOC Session, in Copenhagen, Denmark.<br />Seven cities were initially proposed by their National Olympic Committees to host the 2016 Games: Chicago (USA), Prague (CZE), Tokyo (JPN), Rio de Janeiro (BRA), Baku (AZE), Doha (QAT) and Madrid (ESP). On 4 June 2008, the IOC Executive Board selected four cities to enter the Candidate City phase of the bid process. Listed in the official order of drawing of lots, these cities were:<br />- Chicago (USA) <br />- Tokyo (JPN) <br />- Rio de Janeiro (BRA)<br />- Madrid (ESP) <br />During the vote on 2 October 2009, Rio de Janeiro eventually triumphed by taking 66 votes compared to Madrid’s 32. This gave Rio the majority that it needed to be elected as the host city for the 2016 Games. Rio had to overcome stiff competition, however, in the form of Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid in order to get the Games.<br />