Olympic Games

The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (French: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating.The Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart.

The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in several changes to the Olympic Games. Some of these adjustments include the creation of the Winter Olympic Games for snow and ice sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with a disability, the Youth Olympic Games for athletes aged 14 to 18, the five Continental games (Pan American, African, Asian, European, and Pacific), and the World Games for sports that are not contested in the Olympic Games.

The Ancient Olympic Games were religious and athletic festivals held every four years at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, Greece. Competition was among representatives of several city-states and kingdoms of Ancient Greece. These Games featured mainly athletic but also combat sports such as wrestling and the pankration, horse and chariot racing events. It has been widely written that during the Games, all conflicts among the participating city-states were postponed until the Games were finished. This cessation of hostilities was known as the Olympic peace or truce.This idea is a modern myth because the Greeks never suspended their wars. The truce did allow those religious pilgrims who were travelling to Olympia to pass through warring territories unmolested because they were protected by Zeus.The origin of the Olympics is shrouded in mystery and legend. one of the most popular myths identifies Heracles and his father Zeus as the progenitors of the Games.

The Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, featuring sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices honouring both Zeus (whose famous statue by Phidias stood in his temple at Olympia) and Pelops, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia. Pelops was famous for his chariot race with King Oenomaus of Pisatis..The winners of the events were admired and immortalised in poems and statues.

History

Various uses of the term "Olympic" to describe athletic events in the modern era have been documented since the 17th century. The first such event was the Cotswold Games or "Cotswold Olimpick Games", an annual meeting near Chipping Campden, England, involving various sports. It was first organised by the lawyer Robert Dover between 1612 and 1642, with several later celebrations leading up to the present day. The British Olympic Association, in its bid for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, mentioned these games as "the first stirrings of Britain's Olympic beginnings".

n 1834 and 1836 olympic games was held in Ramlösa (Sweden) and an additional in Stockholm (Sweden) 1843, all organised by Gustaf Johan Schartau and others. At most 25 000 spectators saw the games.In 1850 an Olympian Class was started by William Penny Brookes at Much Wenlock, in Shropshire, England. In 1859, Brookes changed the name to the Wenlock Olympian Games. This annual sports festival continues to this day.

Greek interest in reviving the Olympic Games began with the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821. It was first proposed by poet and newspaper editor Panagiotis Soutsos in his poem "Dialogue of the Dead", published in 1833.Evangelos Zappas, a wealthy Greek-Romanian philanthropist, first wrote to King Otto of Greece, in 1856, offering to fund a permanent revival of the Olympic Games.Zappas sponsored the first Olympic Games in 1859, which was held in an Athens city square.

The stadium hosted Olympics in 1870 and 1875.Thirty thousand spectators attended that Games in 1870, though no official attendance records are available for the 1875 Games.In 1890, after attending the Olympian Games of the Wenlock Olympian Society, Baron Pierre de Coubertin was inspired to found the International Olympic Committee (IOC).Coubertin built on the ideas and work of Brookes and Zappas with the aim of establishing internationally rotating Olympic Games that would occur every four years.

The stadium hosted Olympics in 1870 and 1875.Thirty thousand spectators attended that Games in 1870, though no official attendance records are available for the 1875 Games.In 1890, after attending the Olympian Games of the Wenlock Olympian Society, Baron Pierre de Coubertin was inspired to found the International Olympic Committee (IOC).Coubertin built on the ideas and work of Brookes and Zappas with the aim of establishing internationally rotating Olympic Games that would occur every four years.Greek officials and the public were enthusiastic about the experience of hosting an Olympic Games. This feeling was shared by many of the athletes, who even demanded that Athens be the permanent Olympic host city.

After the success of the 1896 Games, the Olympics entered a period of stagnation that threatened their survival. The Olympic Games held at the Paris Exposition in 1900 and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis in 1904 were side shows. This period was a low point for the Olympic Movement.The Games rebounded when the 1906 Intercalated Games (so-called because they were the second Games held within the third Olympiad) were held in Athens.

The Winter Olympics was created to feature snow and ice sports that were logistically impossible to hold during the Summer Games. Figure skating (in 1908 and 1920) and ice hockey (in 1920) were featured as Olympic events at the Summer Olympics. The IOC desired to expand this list of sports to encompass other winter activities. At the 1921 Olympic Congress in Lausanne, it was decided to hold a winter version of the Olympic Games. A winter sports week (it was actually 11 days) was held in 1924 in Chamonix, France, in connection with the Paris Games held three months later; this event became the first Winter Olympic Games.Although it was intended that the same country host both the Winter and Summer Games in a given year, this idea was quickly abandoned.

In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, determined to promote the rehabilitation of soldiers after World War II, organised a multi-sport event between several hospitals to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics. Guttmann's event, known then as the Stoke Mandeville Games, became an annual sports festival. Over the next twelve years, Guttmann and others continued their efforts to use sports as an avenue to healing. For the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Guttmann brought 400 athletes to compete in the "Parallel Olympics", which became known as the first Paralympics. Since then, the Paralympics have been held in every Olympic year. Since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, the host city for the Olympics has also played host to the Paralympics. In 2001 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) signed an agreement guaranteeing that host cities would be contracted to manage both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In 2010, the Olympic Games were complemented by the Youth Games, which give athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 the chance to compete. The Youth Olympic Games were conceived by IOC president Jacques Rogge in 2001 and approved during the 119th Congress of the IOC.The first Summer Youth Games were held in Singapore from 14–26 August 2010, while the inaugural Winter Games were hosted in Innsbruck, Austria, two years later.These Games will be shorter than the senior Games; the summer version will last twelve days, while the winter version will last nine days.The IOC allows 3,500 athletes and 875 officials to participate at the Summer Youth Games, and 970 athletes and 580 officials at the Winter Youth Games.

From 241 participants representing 14 nations in 1896, the Games have grown to about 10,500 competitors from 204 nations at the 2012 Summer Olympics.The scope and scale of the Winter Olympics is smaller. For example, Sochi hosted 2,873 athletes from 88 nations competing in 98 events during the 2014 Winter Olympics. During the Games most athletes and officials are housed in the Olympic Village.

The IOC allowed the formation of National Olympic Committees representing nations that did not meet the strict requirements for political sovereignty that other international organisations demand. As a result, colonies and dependencies are permitted to compete at Olympic Games. Examples of this include territories such as Puerto Rico, Bermuda, and Hong Kong, all of which compete as separate nations despite being legally a part of another country.The current version of the Charter allows for the establishment of new National Olympic Committees to represent nations which qualify as "an independent State recognised by the international community".

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