The Olympic Games is a major internationalEvent featuring summer and winter sports,in which thousands of athletes participatein a variety of competitions. The OlympicGames have come to be regardedas the world’s foremost sports competitionwhere more than 200 nations participate. TheGames are currently held every two years, withSummer and Winter Olympic Gamesalternating, although they occur every fouryears within their respective seasonal games.The Olympic Movement consists of international sportsfederations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and organizingcommittees for each specific Olympic Games. The host city is responsible fororganizing and funding a celebration of the Games consistent with the OlympicCharter. Over 13,000 athletes compete at the Summer and Winter Olympics in 33different sports and nearly 400 events.
The victors of these early games werecrowned with wreaths from a sacred olivetree that grew behind the temple of Zeus.The winners marched around the grove tothe accompaniment of a flute while admirerschanted songs written by a prominent poet.The Olympic Games were held withoutinterruptions in ancient Greece. The gameswere even held in 480 BC during the PersianWars, and coincided with the Battle ofThermopylae.The games were held every four years from776 BC to 393 AD, when they were abolishedby the Christian Byzantine EmperorTheodosius I. The ancient Olympic Gameslasted for 1170 years.
The first significant attempt to emulate the ancientOlympic Games was the LOlympiade de laRépublique, a national Olympic festival held annuallyfrom 1796 to 1798 in Revolutionary France. Thecompetition included several disciplines from theancient Greek Olympics.In 1850 an Olympian Class was started by Dr WilliamPenny Brookes at MuchWenlock, in Shropshire, England. In 1859, Dr Brookeschanged the name to Wenlock Olympian Games. Thisannual sports festival continues to this day.Between 1862 and 1867, Liverpool held an annualGrand Olympic Festival. Devised by John Hulley andCharles Melly, in cooperation with Dr Brookes, thesegames were elitist in nature since only Gentlemencould compete. Some of the Gentlemen brought theircoaches with them.
In 1865 Hulley, Dr. Brookes and E.G. Ravensteinfounded the National Olympian Association inLiverpool, a forerunner of the British OlympicAssociation. Its articles of foundation provided theframework for the International Olympic Charter.The Panathinaiko Stadium hosted Olympics in 1870and 1875. Thirty thousand spectators attended thatGames in 1870 though no official attendance recordsare available for the 1875 Games. In 1890, afterattending the Olympian Games of the WenlockOlympian Society, Baron Pierre de Coubertin wasinspired to found the International OlympicCommittee (IOC). He presented his ideas duringthe first Olympic Congress of the newly createdInternational Olympic Committee. On the last dayof the Congress, it was decided that the firstOlympic Games, to come under the auspices of theIOC, would take place in Athens in 1896.
The Winter Olympic Games isa sporting event, which occursevery four years. The firstcelebration of the WinterOlympics was held in Chamonix,France , in 1924. The originalsports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating,ice hockey, Nordic combined , ski jumpingand speed skating. TheGames were held every four years from 1924 until 1936 when theywere interrupted by World War II. The Olympics resumed in 1948 and werecelebrated every four years. The Winter and Summer Olympic Games were heldin the same years until 1992, when the governing body for the OlympicGames, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), decided to place theSummer and Winter Games on separate four-year cycles in alternating even-numbered years.
The Winter Games have evolved since theirinception. Sports have been added and some ofthem, such as luge, short track speedskating and freestyle skiing, have earned apermanent spot on the Olympic programme.Others, such as speedskiing, bandy and skijoring, were demonstrationsports but never incorporated as Olympicsports.The IOC has had to address severalcriticisms, internal scandals, the use ofperformance enhancing drugs by WinterOlympians, as well as a political boycott of theWinter Olympics. Nations have used the WinterGames to showcase the claimed superiority oftheir political systems.
The Winter Olympics have been hosted onthree continents, but never in a country in thesouthern hemisphere. The United States hashosted the Games four times; France has beenthe host three times;Austria, Canada, Italy, Japan, Norway andSwitzerland have hosted the Games twice.Sochi, Russia, was elected as the host city ofthe 2014 WinterOlympics over Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea. This will be the first timethat Russia will host a Winter Olympics. TheOlympic Village and Olympic Stadium will belocated on the Black Seacoast. All of themountain venues will be 50 kilometers (30 mi)away in the alpine region known as KrasnayaPolyana. On July 6, 2011, the IOC selected thecity of Pyeongchang, South Korea to hostthe 2018 Winter Olympics.
From 241 participants representing 14 nations in1896, the Games have grown to about 10,500competitors from 204 countries at the 2008 SummerOlympics. The scope and scale of the WinterOlympics is smaller. For example, Turin hosted2,508 athletes from 80 countries competing in 84events, during the 2006 Winter Olympics. Duringthe Games most athletes and officials are housed inthe Olympic village. This village is intended to be aself-contained home for all the Olympicparticipants. It is furnished with cafeterias, healthclinics, and locations for religious expression.The IOC allowed the formation of National OlympicCommittees representing countries that did notmeet the strict requirements for politicalsovereignty that other international organizationsdemand. As a result, colonies and dependencies arepermitted to compete at Olympic Games.
43 different sports, spanning 56 different disciplines, have been part of the Olympic program at one point or another. 28 sports have comprised the schedule for the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Summer Olympics, though baseball and softball have been removed to give a list of 26 for the 2012 Games. Sport Years Sport YearsArchery 1900–1912, 1920, since Diving since 1904 1972 Equestrian 1900, since 1912Athletics all Fencing allBadminton since 1992 Football 1900–1928, since 1936Baseball 1992–2008 Golf 1900, 1904, 2016, 2020Basketball since 1936Basque pelota 1900 Gymnastics allBoxing 1904, 1908, since 1920 Handball 1936, since 1972Canoeing and since 1936 Hockey (field) 1908, 1920, since 1928kayaking Jeu de paume 1908Cricket 1900 Judo 1964, since 1972Cycling all Lacrosse 1904, 1908
Sport Years Sport YearsModern pentathlon since 1912 Table tennis since 1988Polo 1900, 1908, 1920, Taekwondo since 2000 1924, 1936Rackets 1908 Tennis 1896–1924, since 1988Roque 1904Rowing since 1900 Triathlon since 2000Rugby union 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924 Tug of war 1900–1920Rugby sevens 2016 Volleyball since 1964Sailing 1900, since 1908 Water motorsports 1908Shooting 1896, 1900, 1908– 1924, since 1932 Water polo 1900, since 1908Softball 1996–2008 Weightlifting 1896, 1904, sinceSwimming all 1920Synchronized since 1984swimming Wrestling 1896, since 1904
Since 1992 a number of new sports have been added to the Olympic programme;which include short track speed skating, snowboarding, freestyle and mogulsskiing. The addition of these events has broadened the appeal of the WinterOlympics beyond Europe and North America. While European powers such asNorway and Germany still dominate the traditional Winter Olympic sports,countries such as South Korea, Australia and Canada are finding success in thenew sports. The results are more parity in the national medal tables, more interestin the Winter Olympics and higher global television ratings. Sport Years Sport YearsAlpine skiing Since 1936 Ice hockey Since 1924Biathlon Since 1960 Luge Since 1964 1924–1956 Nordic combined Since 1924Bobsleigh 1964–present Short track speedCross-country Since 1992 Since 1924 skatingskiing 1924; 1948 1924 SkeletonCurling Since 2002 1998–present Ski jumping Since 1924Freestyle skiing Since 1992 Snowboarding Since 1998 Figure skating Since 1924 Speed skating Since 1924
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games,officially known as the Games of the XXXOlympiad or "London 2012 OlympicGames", are scheduled to take placein London, England, United Kingdom from27 July to 12 August 2012. London willbecome the first city to officially host themodern Olympic Games three times, havingpreviously done so in 1908 and in 1948.London was selected as the host city on 6July 2005 during the 117th IOC Session inSingapore, defeating Moscow, New YorkCity, Madrid and Paris after four rounds ofvoting. The successful bid was headed byformer Olympic champion Sebastian Coe.