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Olympic Games

Olympic Games

Overview


The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions
Multi-sport event
A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports between organized teams of athletes from nation-states. The first major, modern, multi-sport event of international significance was the modern Olympic Games.Many...

. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate. The Games are currently held every two years, with Summer
Summer Olympic Games
The Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad are an international multi-sport event, occurring every four years, organized by the International Olympic Committee. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, a tradition that...

 and Winter Olympic Games
Winter Olympic Games
The Winter Olympic Games is a sporting event, which occurs every four years. The first celebration of the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The original sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating...

 alternating, although they occur every four years within their respective seasonal games.
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Encyclopedia
Olympic Games
Organizations
Charter
Olympic Charter
The Olympic Charter, last updated March 21, 1992, is a set of rules and guidelines for the organization of the Olympic Games, and for governing the Olympic Movement. Adopted by International Olympic Committee , it is the codification of the Fundamental Principles, Rules and By-laws. French and...

IOC
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

NOC
National Olympic Committee
National Olympic Committees are the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, they are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games...

s Symbols
Olympic symbols
The Olympic symbols are icons, flags and symbols used by the International Olympic Committee to promote the Olympic Games. Some—such as the flame, fanfare, and theme—are more common during Olympic competition, but others, such as the flag, can be seen throughout the year.-Motto:The Olympic motto is...


Sports
Olympic sports
Olympic sports, as defined by the International Olympic Committee, are all the sports contested in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The Summer Olympics, as of 2012, will include 26 sports, with two additionall sports due to be added in 2016...

Competitors
Medal tables Medalists ceremonies
Olympic Games ceremony
Olympic Games ceremonies were an integral part of the Ancient Olympic Games. Some of the elements of the modern ceremonies harken back to the Ancient Games from which the Modern Olympics draw their ancestry. An example of this is the prominence of Greece in both the opening and closing ceremonies...

Games
Ancient Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games
The Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad are an international multi-sport event, occurring every four years, organized by the International Olympic Committee. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, a tradition that...


Winter Olympic Games
Winter Olympic Games
The Winter Olympic Games is a sporting event, which occurs every four years. The first celebration of the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The original sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating...


Paralympic Games
Paralympic Games
The Paralympic Games are a major international multi-sport event where athletes with a physical disability compete; this includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and Cerebral Palsy. There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, which are held immediately following their...


Youth Olympic Games
Youth Olympic Games
The Youth Olympic Games is an international multi-sport event first held in Singapore from August 14 to August 26, 2010. The games are held every four years in staggered summer and winter events consistent with the current Olympic Games format. The age limitation of the athletes is between 14 to 18...



The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions
Multi-sport event
A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports between organized teams of athletes from nation-states. The first major, modern, multi-sport event of international significance was the modern Olympic Games.Many...

. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate. The Games are currently held every two years, with Summer
Summer Olympic Games
The Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad are an international multi-sport event, occurring every four years, organized by the International Olympic Committee. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, a tradition that...

 and Winter Olympic Games
Winter Olympic Games
The Winter Olympic Games is a sporting event, which occurs every four years. The first celebration of the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The original sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating...

 alternating, although they occur every four years within their respective seasonal games. Since 2008, host cities are contracted to manage both the Olympic and the Paralympic Games
Paralympic Games
The Paralympic Games are a major international multi-sport event where athletes with a physical disability compete; this includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and Cerebral Palsy. There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, which are held immediately following their...

, where athletes who have a physical disability
Physical disability
A physical disability is any impairment which limits the physical function of one or more limbs or fine or gross motor ability. Other physical disabilities include impairments which limit other facets of daily living, such as respiratory disorders and epilepsy....

 compete. The Paralympics are held immediately following their respective Olympic Games. Originally, the ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin
Pierre de Coubertin
Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin was a French educationalist and historian, founder of the International Olympic Committee, and is considered the father of the modern Olympic Games...

 founded the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 (IOC) in 1894. The IOC has since become the governing body of the Olympic Movement, whose structure and actions are defined by the Olympic Charter
Olympic Charter
The Olympic Charter, last updated March 21, 1992, is a set of rules and guidelines for the organization of the Olympic Games, and for governing the Olympic Movement. Adopted by International Olympic Committee , it is the codification of the Fundamental Principles, Rules and By-laws. French and...

.

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 Games for ice and winter sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with a physical disability, and the Youth Olympic Games
Youth Olympic Games
The Youth Olympic Games is an international multi-sport event first held in Singapore from August 14 to August 26, 2010. The games are held every four years in staggered summer and winter events consistent with the current Olympic Games format. The age limitation of the athletes is between 14 to 18...

 for teenage athletes. The IOC has had to adapt to the varying economic, political, and technological realities of the 20th century. As a result, the Olympics shifted away from pure amateurism, as envisioned by Coubertin, to allow participation of professional athletes. The growing importance of the mass media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 created the issue of corporate sponsorship and commercialization of the Games. World Wars led to the cancellation of the 1916, 1940, and 1944 Games. Large boycotts during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 limited participation in the 1980 and 1984 Games.

The Olympic Movement consists of international sports federations (IFs), National Olympic Committee
National Olympic Committee
National Olympic Committees are the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, they are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games...

s (NOCs), and organizing committees for each specific Olympic Games. As the decision-making body, the IOC is responsible for choosing the host city for each Olympic Games. The host city is responsible for organizing and funding a celebration of the Games consistent with the Olympic Charter. The Olympic program, consisting of the sports
Olympic sports
Olympic sports, as defined by the International Olympic Committee, are all the sports contested in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The Summer Olympics, as of 2012, will include 26 sports, with two additionall sports due to be added in 2016...

 to be contested at the Games, is also determined by the IOC. The celebration of the Games encompasses many rituals and symbols, such as the Olympic flag and torch, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies
Olympic Games ceremony
Olympic Games ceremonies were an integral part of the Ancient Olympic Games. Some of the elements of the modern ceremonies harken back to the Ancient Games from which the Modern Olympics draw their ancestry. An example of this is the prominence of Greece in both the opening and closing ceremonies...

. There are over 13,000 athletes that compete at the Summer and Winter Olympics in 33 different sports and nearly 400 events. The first, second, and third place finishers in each event receive Olympic medals; gold, silver, and bronze, respectively.

The Games have grown in scale to the point that nearly every nation is represented. Such growth has created numerous challenges, including boycotts, doping, bribery of officials
2002 Winter Olympic bid scandal
The 2002 Olympic Winter Games bid scandal was a scandal involving allegations of bribery used to win the rights to host the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Prior to its successful bid in 1995, the city had attempted four times to secure the games; failing each time...

, and terrorism
Munich massacre
The Munich massacre is an informal name for events that occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Bavaria in southern West Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September. Members of Black September...

. Every two years, the Olympics and its media exposure provide unknown athletes with the chance to attain national, and in particular cases, international fame. The Games also constitute a major opportunity for the host city and country to showcase themselves to the world.

Ancient Olympics



The Ancient Olympic Games was a series of competitions held between representatives of several city-states and kingdoms from Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, which featured mainly athletic but also combat and chariot racing events. During the Olympic games all struggles against the participating city-states were postponed until the games were finished. The origin of these Olympics is shrouded in mystery and legend. One of the most popular myths identifies Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

 and his father Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 as the progenitors of the Games. According to legend, it was Heracles who first called the Games "Olympic" and established the custom of holding them every four years. A legend persists that after Heracles completed his twelve labors, he built the Olympic stadium
Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Stadium is the name usually given to the big centrepiece stadium of the Summer Olympic Games. Traditionally, the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field competitions are held in the Olympic Stadium. Many, though not all, of these venues actually contain the words Olympic...

 as an honor to Zeus. Following its completion, he walked in a straight line for 200 steps and called this distance a "stadion
Stadion (unit of length)
The stadion, Latinized as stadium and anglicized as stade, is an ancient Greek unit of length. According to Herodotus, one stade is equal to 600 feet. However, there were several different lengths of “feet”, depending on the country of origin....

" ' onMouseout='HidePop("47824")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Latin">Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

: stadium, "stage"), which later became a unit of distance. Another myth associates the first Games with the ancient Greek concept of Olympic truce (ἐκεχειρία, ekecheiria). The most widely accepted date for the inception of the Ancient Olympics is 776 BC; this is based on inscriptions, found at Olympia, of the winners of a footrace held every four years starting in 776 BC. The Ancient Games featured running events, a pentathlon (consisting of a jumping event, discus and javelin throws, a foot race and wrestling), boxing, wrestling, and equestrian events. Tradition has it that Coroebus
Coroebus of Elis
Coroebus of Elis was a humble Elean baker and athlete who won the stadion race in the first recorded Ancient Olympic Games in 776 BC.-Olympics:...

, a cook from the city of Elis, was the first Olympic champion.

The Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, featuring sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices honoring both Zeus (whose famous statue
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was made by the Greek sculptor Phidias, circa 432 BC on the site where it was erected in the Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.-Description:...

 by Phidias
Phidias
Phidias or the great Pheidias , was a Greek sculptor, painter and architect, who lived in the 5th century BC, and is commonly regarded as one of the greatest of all sculptors of Classical Greece: Phidias' Statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World...

 stood in his temple at Olympia
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

) and Pelops
Pelops
In Greek mythology, Pelops , was king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus. He was the founder of the House of Atreus through his son of that name....

, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia. Pelops was famous for his chariot race with King Oenomaus
Oenomaus
In Greek mythology, King Oenomaus of Pisa, the father of Hippodamia, was the son of Ares, either by the naiad Harpina or by Sterope, one of the Pleiades, whom some identify as his consort instead...

 of Pisatis
Pisa (Greece)
Pisa was the name of an ancient town in the western Peloponnese, Greece. The area controlled by Pisa was called Pisatis, which included Olympia, the site of the Ancient Olympic Games. Pisa and Pisatis were subjugated by Elis in 572 BC. Currently, it is a village within the municipality of Olympia...

. The winners of the events were admired and immortalized in poems and statues. The Games were held every four years, and this period, known as an Olympiad
Olympiad
An Olympiad is a period of four years, associated with the Olympic Games of Classical Greece. In the Hellenistic period, beginning with Ephorus, Olympiads were used as calendar epoch....

, was used by Greeks as one of their units of time measurement. The Games were part of a cycle known as the Panhellenic Games
Panhellenic Games
Panhellenic Games is the collective term for four separate sports festivals held in ancient Greece. The four Games were:-Description:The Games took place in a four-year cycle known as the Olympiad, which was one of the ways the Greeks measured time...

, which included the Pythian Games
Pythian Games
The Pythian Games were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, a forerunner of the modern Olympic Games, held every four years at the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi....

, the Nemean Games
Nemean Games
The Nemean Games were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were held at Nemea every two years ....

, and the Isthmian Games
Isthmian Games
The Isthmian Games or Isthmia were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were named after the isthmus of Corinth, where they were held...

.

The Olympic Games reached their zenith
Zenith
The zenith is an imaginary point directly "above" a particular location, on the imaginary celestial sphere. "Above" means in the vertical direction opposite to the apparent gravitational force at that location. The opposite direction, i.e...

 in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, but then gradually declined in importance as the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 gained power and influence in Greece. There is no consensus on when the Games officially ended, the most common-held date is 393 AD, when the emperor Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 declared that all pagan cults and practices be eliminated. Another date cited is 426 AD, when his successor Theodosius II
Theodosius II
Theodosius II , commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was Byzantine Emperor from 408 to 450. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople...

 ordered the destruction of all Greek temples. After the demise of the Olympics, they were not held again until the late 19th century.

Forerunners



The first significant attempt to emulate the ancient Olympic Games was the L'Olympiade de la République, a national Olympic festival held annually from 1796 to 1798 in Revolutionary France
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. The competition included several disciplines from the ancient Greek Olympics. The 1796 Games also marked the introduction of the metric system
Metric system
The metric system is an international decimalised system of measurement. France was first to adopt a metric system, in 1799, and a metric system is now the official system of measurement, used in almost every country in the world...

 into sport.

In 1850 an Olympian Class was started by Dr William Penny Brookes
William Penny Brookes
Dr. William Penny Brookes was an English surgeon, magistrate, botanist, and educationalist especially known for his promotion of physical education and personal betterment...

 at Much Wenlock
Much Wenlock
Much Wenlock, earlier known as Wenlock, is a small town in central Shropshire, England. It is situated on the A458 road between Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth. Nearby, to the northeast, is the Ironbridge Gorge, and the new town of Telford...

, in Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

, England. In 1859, Dr Brookes changed the name to Wenlock Olympian Games
Wenlock Olympian Society Annual Games
The Wenlock Olympian Society Annual Games, dating from 1850, are a forerunner of the modern Olympic Games. They are held each year in Much Wenlock in Shropshire, England.-Overview:...

. This annual sports festival continues to this day. The Wenlock Olympian Society was founded by Dr. Brookes on November 15, 1860.

Between 1862 and 1867, Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 held an annual Grand Olympic Festival. Devised by John Hulley and Charles Melly, in cooperation with Dr Brookes, these games were elitist in nature since only Gentlemen could compete. Some of the Gentlemen brought their coaches with them. The programme for Athens 1896 had similarities to that of the Liverpool Olympics, but that was to be expected since Dr. Brookes had incorporated events from the 1859 Athens Olympics programme at Much Wenlock and had contributed to the programme at Liverpool. In 1865 Hulley, Dr. Brookes and E.G. Ravenstein founded the National Olympian Association in Liverpool, a forerunner of the British Olympic Association
British Olympic Association
The British Olympic Association is the national Olympic committee for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It was formed in 1905 in the House of Commons, and at that time consisted of seven national governing body members from the following sports: fencing, life-saving, cycling, skating, rowing,...

. Its articles of foundation provided the framework for the International Olympic Charter
Olympic Charter
The Olympic Charter, last updated March 21, 1992, is a set of rules and guidelines for the organization of the Olympic Games, and for governing the Olympic Movement. Adopted by International Olympic Committee , it is the codification of the Fundamental Principles, Rules and By-laws. French and...

. In 1866, a national Olympic Games in Great Britain was organized at London's Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace's of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in...

.

Revival


Greek interest in reviving the Olympic Games began with the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

 from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1821. It was first proposed by poet and newspaper editor Panagiotis Soutsos
Panagiotis Soutsos
Panagiotis Soutsos , was a Greek newspaper editor, journalist, author, and poet of the romantic school, born in Constantinople . He was an admirer of the ancient Greek tradition, while he used an archaic language in his works...

 in his poem "Dialogue of the Dead", published in 1833. Evangelis 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
Zappas Olympics
The Zappas Olympics , simply called Olympics at the time, were a series of athletic events held in Athens, Greece, in 1859, 1870, and 1875 sponsored by the Greek businessman Evangelis Zappas. These games were the first revival of the ancient Olympic Games in the modern era...

 in 1859, which was held in an Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 city square. Athletes participated from Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Zappas funded the restoration of the ancient Panathenaic stadium so that it could host all future Olympic Games.

The Panathinaiko Stadium
Panathinaiko Stadium
The Panathinaiko or Panathenaic Stadium , also known as the Kallimarmaro , is an athletic stadium in Athens that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896...

 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
Pierre de Coubertin
Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin was a French educationalist and historian, founder of the International Olympic Committee, and is considered the father of the modern Olympic Games...

 was inspired to found the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 (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. He presented these ideas during the first Olympic Congress
Olympic Congress
An Olympic Congress is a large gathering of representatives from the different constituencies of the Olympic Movement, organised by the International Olympic Committee . As detailed in chapter 1, rule 4 of the Olympic Charter, the IOC President is responsible for convening a Congress, presiding...

 of the newly created International Olympic Committee. This meeting was held from June 16 to June 23, 1894, at the Sorbonne
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 University in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. On the last day of the Congress, it was decided that the first Olympic Games, to come under the auspices of the IOC, would take place in Athens in 1896. The IOC elected the Greek writer Demetrius Vikelas
Demetrius Vikelas
Demetrios Vikelas, or Bikelas was a Greek businessman and writer; he was the first president of the International Olympic Committee , from 1894 to 1896....

 as its first president.

1896 Games



The first Games held under the auspices of the IOC was hosted in the Panathenaic stadium in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 in 1896. These Games brought together 14 nations and 241 athletes who competed in 43 events. Zappas and his cousin Konstantinos Zappas
Konstantinos Zappas
Konstantinos Zappas was a Greek entrepreneur and national benefactor. Together with his cousin Evangelis Zappas he played an essential role in the revival of the Olympic Games....

 had left the Greek government a trust to fund future Olympic Games. This trust was used to help finance the 1896 Games. George Averoff
George Averoff
George M. Averoff , alternately Georgios Averof , was a Greek businessman and philanthropist of Aromanian origin....

 contributed generously for the refurbishment of the stadium in preparation for the Games. The Greek government also provided funding, which was expected to be recouped through the sale of tickets to the Games and from the sale of the first Olympic commemorative stamp set.

The Greek officials and public were enthusiastic about the experience of hosting these Games. This feeling was shared by many of the athletes, who even demanded that Athens be the host of the Olympic Games on a permanent basis. The IOC did not approve this request. The committee planned that the modern Olympics would rotate internationally. As such they decided to hold the second Games in Paris.

Changes and adaptations


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
Trade fair
A trade fair is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, service, study activities of rivals and examine recent market trends and opportunities...

 in 1900 and the World's Fair
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

 at St. Louis in 1904
1904 Summer Olympics
The 1904 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States from 1 July 1904, to November 23, 1904, at what is now known as Francis Field on the campus of Washington University...

 were side-shows. The Games at Paris did not have a stadium; however, this was the first time women took part in the games. The St. Louis Games hosted 650 athletes, but 580 were from the United States
United States at the 1904 Summer Olympics
The United States hosted the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri. These Games were sparsely attended by athletes from outside the USA, and consequently, American athletes won 241 of 283 total medals awarded...

. The homogeneous nature of these celebrations 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
Olympiad
An Olympiad is a period of four years, associated with the Olympic Games of Classical Greece. In the Hellenistic period, beginning with Ephorus, Olympiads were used as calendar epoch....

) were held in Athens. These Games are not officially recognized by the IOC and no Intercalated Games have been held since. These Games, which were hosted at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens, attracted a broad international field of participants, and generated great public interest. This marked the beginning of a rise in both the popularity and the size of the Olympics.

Winter Games



The Winter Olympics were 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
Lausanne
Lausanne is a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is the capital of the canton of Vaud. The seat of the district of Lausanne, the city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva . It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura mountains to its north-west...

, 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
1924 Winter Olympics
The 1924 Winter Olympics, officially known as the I Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was held in 1924 in Chamonix, France...

 in Chamonix
Chamonix
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc or, more commonly, Chamonix is a commune in the Haute-Savoie département in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It was the site of the 1924 Winter Olympics, the first Winter Olympics...

, France; this event became the first Winter Olympic Games
Winter Olympic Games
The Winter Olympic Games is a sporting event, which occurs every four years. The first celebration of the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The original sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating...

. The IOC mandated that the Winter Games be celebrated every four years on the same year as their summer counterpart. This tradition was upheld until the 1992 Games
1992 Winter Olympics
The 1992 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVI Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 8 to 23 February 1992 in Albertville, France. They were the last Winter Olympics to be held the same year as the Summer Olympics, and the first where the Winter Paralympics...

 in Albertville
Albertville
Albertville is a commune in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.The town is best known for hosting the 1992 Winter Olympics.-Geography:...

, France; after that, beginning with the 1994 Games
1994 Winter Olympics
The 1994 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 12 to 27 February 1994 in and around Lillehammer, Norway. Lillehammer failed to win the bid for the 1992 event. Lillehammer was awarded the games in 1988, after having beat...

, the Winter Olympics were held on the third year of each Olympiad.

Paralympics



In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann
Ludwig Guttmann
Sir Ludwig "Poppa" Guttmann CBE, FRS was a German neurologist who founded the Paralympic Games while living in England, and is considered one of the founding fathers of organized physical activities for people with a disability....

, determined to promote the rehabilitation of soldiers after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, organized a multi-sport event between several hospitals to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics
1948 Summer Olympics
The 1948 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in London, England, United Kingdom. After a 12-year hiatus because of World War II, these were the first Summer Olympics since the 1936 Games in Berlin...

. 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
1960 Summer Olympics
The 1960 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held from August 25 to September 11, 1960 in Rome, Italy...

, in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Guttmann brought 400 athletes to compete in the "Parallel Olympics", which became known as the first Paralympics
1960 Summer Paralympics
The 1960 Summer Paralympics, originally known as the 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games, were the first international Paralympic Games, following on from the Stoke Mandeville Games of 1948 and 1952. They were organised under the aegis of the International Stoke Mandeville Games...

. Since then, the Paralympics have been held in every Olympic year. As of the 1988 Summer Olympics
1988 Summer Olympics
The 1988 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, were an all international multi-sport events celebrated from September 17 to October 2, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. They were the second summer Olympic Games to be held in Asia and the first since the 1964 Summer Olympics...

 in Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, South Korea, the host city for the Olympics has also played host to the Paralympics. In 2001 the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee
International Paralympic Committee
The International Paralympic Committee is an international non-profit organisation and the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Paralympic Games and functions as the international federation for nine sports...

 (IPC) signed an agreement which guaranteed that host cities would be contracted to manage both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The agreement came into effect at the Summer Games in Beijing 2008, and the Winter Games in Vancouver 2010. Chairman of the London organising committee, Lord Coe, said about the 2012 Summer Paralympics
2012 Summer Paralympics
The 2012 Summer Paralympic Games will be the fourteenth Paralympics and will take place between 29 August and 9 September 2012. The Games will be held in London, United Kingdom after the city was successful with its bid for the Paralympics and Summer Olympic Games.Even though 2012 will be London's...

 and Olympics
2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the "London 2012 Olympic Games", are scheduled to take place in London, England, United Kingdom from 27 July to 12 August 2012...

 in London, England that,

Youth Games


In 2010, the Olympic Games were complemented by the Youth Games, which gives athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 the chance to compete. The Youth Olympic Games were conceived by IOC president Jacques Rogge
Jacques Rogge
Jacques Rogge, Count Rogge , is a Belgian sports bureaucrat. He is the eighth and current President of the International Olympic Committee .-Life and career:...

 in 2001 and approved during the 119th Congress of the IOC. The first Summer Youth Games were held in Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 from 14–26 August 2010, while the inaugural Winter Games
2012 Winter Youth Olympics
The 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, officially known as the I Winter Youth Olympic Games , will be an international multi-sport event for youths that will take place in Innsbruck from 13 to 22 January 2012. They will become the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics, a major sports and cultural festival...

 will be hosted in Innsbruck
Innsbruck
- Main sights :- Buildings :*Golden Roof*Kaiserliche Hofburg *Hofkirche with the cenotaph of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor*Altes Landhaus...

, 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. The sports to be contested will coincide with those scheduled for the senior Games, however there will be variations on the sports including mixed NOC and mixed gender teams as well as a reduced number of disciplines and events.

Recent games


From 241 participants representing 14 nations in 1896, the Games have grown to about 10,500 competitors from 204 countries at the 2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

. The scope and scale of the Winter Olympics is smaller. For example, Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

 hosted 2,508 athletes from 80 countries competing in 84 events, during the 2006 Winter Olympics
2006 Winter Olympics
The 2006 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XX Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in Turin, Italy from February 10, 2006, through February 26, 2006. This marked the second time Italy hosted the Olympic Winter Games, the first being the VII Olympic Winter...

. During the Games most athletes and officials are housed in the Olympic village
Olympic Village
An Olympic Village is an accommodation centre built for an Olympic Games, usually within an Olympic Park or elsewhere in a host city. Olympic Villages are built to house all participating athletes, as well as officials, athletic trainers, and other staff. Since the Munich Massacre at the 1972...

. This village is intended to be a self-contained home for all the Olympic participants. It is furnished with cafeterias, health clinics, and locations for religious expression.

The IOC allowed the formation of National Olympic Committees representing countries that did not meet the strict requirements for political sovereignty that other international organizations 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 does only allow new National Olympic Committees representing "independent State recognised by the international community". It therefore did not allow the formation of National Olympic Committees for Sint Maarten and Curaçao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

 when they gained the same constitutional status as Aruba
Aruba
Aruba is a 33 km-long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, located 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela and 130 km east of Guajira Peninsula...

 in 2010, although it recognized the Aruban Olympic Committee
Aruban Olympic Committee
The Aruban Olympic Committee was established in 1985 after Aruba separated from the Netherlands Antilles. Previously, Aruba was represented by the Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee...

 in 1986.

International Olympic Committee



The Olympic Movement encompasses a large number of national and international sporting organizations and federations, recognized media partners, as well as athletes, officials, judges, and every other person and institution that agrees to abide by the rules of the Olympic Charter
Olympic Charter
The Olympic Charter, last updated March 21, 1992, is a set of rules and guidelines for the organization of the Olympic Games, and for governing the Olympic Movement. Adopted by International Olympic Committee , it is the codification of the Fundamental Principles, Rules and By-laws. French and...

. As the umbrella organization of the Olympic Movement, the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 (IOC) is responsible for selecting the host city, overseeing the planning of the Olympic Games, updating and approving the sports program, and negotiating sponsorship and broadcasting rights.
The Olympic Movement is made of three major elements:
  • International Federations (IFs) are the governing bodies
    Sport governing body
    A sport governing body is a sports organization that has a regulatory or sanctioning function. Sport governing bodies come in various forms, and have a variety of regulatory functions. Examples of this can include disciplinary action for rule infractions and deciding on rule changes in the sport...

     that supervise a sport at an international level. For example, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA
    FIFA
    The Fédération Internationale de Football Association , commonly known by the acronym FIFA , is the international governing body of :association football, futsal and beach football. Its headquarters are located in Zurich, Switzerland, and its president is Sepp Blatter, who is in his fourth...

    ) is the IF for football (soccer), and the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is the international governing body for volleyball
    Volleyball
    Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

    . There are currently 35 IFs in the Olympic Movement, representing each of the Olympic sports.
  • National Olympic Committee
    National Olympic Committee
    National Olympic Committees are the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, they are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games...

    s (NOCs) represent and regulate the Olympic Movement within each country. For example, the United States Olympic Committee
    United States Olympic Committee
    The United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit organization that serves as the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States and coordinates the relationship between the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency and various...

     (USOC) is the NOC of the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    . There are currently 205 NOCs recognized by the IOC.
  • Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) constitute the temporary committees responsible for the organization of a specific celebration of the Olympics. OCOGs are dissolved after each Games, once the final report is delivered to the IOC.


French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 are the official languages of the Olympic Movement. The other language used at each Olympic Games is the language of the host country. Every proclamation (such as the announcement of each country during the parade of nations in the opening ceremony) is spoken in these three languages, or the main two depending on whether the host country is an English or French speaking country.

Criticism


The IOC has often been criticized for being an intractable organization, with several members on the committee for life. The leadership of IOC presidents Avery Brundage
Avery Brundage
Avery Brundage was an American amateur athlete, sports official, art collector, and philanthropist. Brundage competed in the 1912 Olympics and was the US national all-around athlete in 1914, 1916 and 1918...

 and Juan Antonio Samaranch
Juan Antonio Samaranch
Don Juan Antonio Samaranch y Torelló, 1st Marquis of Samaranch, Grandee of Spain , known in Catalan as Joan Antoni Samaranch i Torelló , was a Catalan Spanish sports administrator who served as the seventh President of the International Olympic Committee from 1980 to 2001...

 was especially controversial. Brundage was president for over 20 years, and during his tenure he protected the Olympics from untoward political involvement. He was accused of both racism, for his handling of the apartheid issue with the South African
South Africa at the Olympics
South Africa first participated at the Olympic Games in 1904, and sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games until 1960. After the passage of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1761 in 1962 in response to South Africa's policy of apartheid, the nation was barred from the Games....

 delegation, and anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

. Under the Samaranch presidency, the office was accused of both nepotism
Nepotism
Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives regardless of merit. The word nepotism is from the Latin word nepos, nepotis , from which modern Romanian nepot and Italian nipote, "nephew" or "grandchild" are also descended....

 and corruption. Samaranch's ties with the Franco regime in Spain were also a source of criticism.

In 1998, it was uncovered that several IOC members had taken bribes
2002 Winter Olympic bid scandal
The 2002 Olympic Winter Games bid scandal was a scandal involving allegations of bribery used to win the rights to host the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Prior to its successful bid in 1995, the city had attempted four times to secure the games; failing each time...

 from members of the Salt Lake City bid committee for the hosting of the 2002 Winter Olympics
2002 Winter Olympics
The 2002 Winter Olympics, officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event that was celebrated in February 2002 in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Approximately 2,400 athletes from 77 nations participated in 78 events in fifteen disciplines, held throughout...

, to ensure their votes were cast in favor of the American bid. The IOC pursued an investigation which led to the resignation of four members and expulsion of six others. The scandal set off further reforms that would change the way host cities are selected, to avoid similar cases in the future.

A BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 documentary entitled Panorama
Panorama (TV series)
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme, which was first broadcast in 1953, and is the longest-running public affairs television programme in the world. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby...

: Buying the Games, aired in August 2004, investigated the taking of bribes in the bidding process for the 2012 Summer Olympics
2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the "London 2012 Olympic Games", are scheduled to take place in London, England, United Kingdom from 27 July to 12 August 2012...

. The documentary claimed it was possible to bribe IOC members into voting for a particular candidate city. After being narrowly defeated in their bid for the 2012 Summer Games, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

ian Mayor Bertrand Delanoë
Bertrand Delanoë
Bertrand Delanoë is a French politician, and has been the mayor of Paris since 2001. He is member of the Socialist Party . Delanoë was born in Tunis, Tunisia to a French-Tunisian father and a French mother...

 specifically accused the British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 and the London Bid Committee (headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe) of breaking the bid rules. He cited French President Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

 as a witness; Chirac gave guarded interviews regarding his involvement. The allegation was never fully explored. The Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

 bid for the 2006 Winter Olympics was also shrouded in controversy. A prominent IOC member, Marc Hodler
Marc Hodler
Marc Hodler was a Swiss lawyer, President of the International Ski Federation , member of the International Olympic Committee from 1963 until his death, and bridge player...

, strongly connected with the rival bid of Sion, Switzerland
Sion, Switzerland
Sion is the capital of the Swiss canton of Valais. it had a population of .Landmarks include the Basilique de Valère and Château de Tourbillon. Sion has an airfield for civilian and military use, which, because of its location in a valley, causes a reasonable amount of noise pollution. FC Sion...

, alleged bribery of IOC officials by members of the Turin Organizing Committee. These accusations led to a wide-ranging investigation. The allegations also served to sour many IOC members against Sion's bid and potentially helped Turin to capture the host city nomination.

Commercialization


The IOC originally resisted funding by corporate sponsors. It was not until the retirement of IOC president Avery Brundage
Avery Brundage
Avery Brundage was an American amateur athlete, sports official, art collector, and philanthropist. Brundage competed in the 1912 Olympics and was the US national all-around athlete in 1914, 1916 and 1918...

, in 1972, that the IOC began to explore the potential of the television medium and the lucrative advertising markets available to them. Under the leadership of Juan Antonio Samaranch
Juan Antonio Samaranch
Don Juan Antonio Samaranch y Torelló, 1st Marquis of Samaranch, Grandee of Spain , known in Catalan as Joan Antoni Samaranch i Torelló , was a Catalan Spanish sports administrator who served as the seventh President of the International Olympic Committee from 1980 to 2001...

 the Games began to shift toward international sponsors who sought to link their products to the Olympic brand.

Budget


During the first half of the 20th century the IOC ran on a small budget. As president of the IOC from 1952 to 1972, Avery Brundage rejected all attempts to link the Olympics with commercial interest. Brundage believed the lobby of corporate interests would unduly impact the IOC's decision-making. Brundage's resistance to this revenue stream meant the IOC left organizing committees to negotiate their own sponsorship contracts and use the Olympic symbols. When Brundage retired the IOC had US$2 million in assets; eight years later the IOC coffers had swelled to US$45 million. This was primarily due to a shift in ideology toward expansion of the Games through corporate sponsorship and the sale of television rights. When Juan Antonio Samaranch was elected IOC president in 1980 his desire was to make the IOC financially independent.

The 1984 Summer Olympics
1984 Summer Olympics
The 1984 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Los Angeles, California, United States in 1984...

 became a watershed moment in Olympic history. The Los Angeles-based organizing committee, led by Peter Ueberroth
Peter Ueberroth
Peter Victor Ueberroth is an American executive. He served as the sixth Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1984 to 1989. He was recently the chairman of the United States Olympic Committee; he was replaced by Larry Probst in October 2008....

, was able to generate a surplus of US$225 million, which was an unprecedented amount at that time. The organizing committee had been able to create such a surplus in part by selling exclusive sponsorship rights to select companies. The IOC sought to gain control of these sponsorship rights. Samaranch helped to establish The Olympic Program (TOP) in 1985, in order to create an Olympic brand. Membership in TOP was, and is, very exclusive and expensive. Fees cost US$50 million for a four year membership. Members of TOP received exclusive global advertising rights for their product category, and use of the Olympic symbol, the interlocking rings, in their publications and advertisements.

Effect of television


The 1936 Summer Olympics
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

 in Berlin were the first Games to be broadcast on television, though only to local audiences. The 1956 Winter Olympics
1956 Winter Olympics
The 1956 Winter Olympics, officially known as the VII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. This celebration of the Games was held from 26 January to 5 February 1956. Cortina, which had originally been awarded the 1944 Winter Olympics, beat out...

 were the first internationally televised Olympic Games, and the following Winter Games
1960 Winter Olympics
The 1960 Winter Olympics, officially known as the VIII Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event held between February 18 and 28, 1960 in Squaw Valley, California, United States. In 1955 at the 50th IOC meeting, the organizing committee made the surprise choice to award Squaw Valley as...

 had their broadcasting rights sold for the first time to specialized television broadcasting networks—CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 paid US$394,000 for the American rights, and the European Broadcasting Union
European Broadcasting Union
The European Broadcasting Union is a confederation of 74 broadcasting organisations from 56 countries, and 49 associate broadcasters from a further 25...

 (EBU) allocated US$660,000. In the following decades the Olympics became one of the ideological fronts of the Cold War. Superpowers jockeyed for political supremacy, and the IOC wanted to take advantage of this heightened interest via the broadcast medium. The sale of broadcast rights enabled the IOC to increase the exposure of the Olympic Games, thereby generating more interest, which in turn created more appeal to advertisers time on television. This cycle allowed the IOC to charge ever-increasing fees for those rights. For example, CBS paid US$375 million for the rights of the 1998 Nagano Games
1998 Winter Olympics
The 1998 Winter Olympics, officially the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 7 to 22 February 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Seventy-two nations and 2,176 participans contested in seven sports and 72 events at 15 venues. The games saw the introduction of Women's ice...

, while NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 spent US$3.5 billion for the broadcast rights of all the Olympic Games from 2000 to 2012.

Viewership increased exponentially from the 1960s until the end of the century. This was due to the use of satellites to broadcast live television worldwide in 1964, and the introduction of color television in 1968. Global audience estimates for the 1968 Mexico City Games
1968 Summer Olympics
The 1968 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Mexico City, Mexico in October 1968. The 1968 Games were the first Olympic Games hosted by a developing country, and the first Games hosted by a Spanish-speaking country...

 was 600 million, whereas at the Los Angeles Games of 1984
1984 Summer Olympics
The 1984 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Los Angeles, California, United States in 1984...

, the audience numbers had increased to 900 million; that number swelled to 3.5 billion by the 1992 Summer Olympics
1992 Summer Olympics
The 1992 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event celebrated in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, in 1992. The International Olympic Committee voted in 1986 to separate the Summer and Winter Games, which had been held in the same...

 in Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

. However, at the 2000 Summer Games
2000 Summer Olympics
The Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games or the Millennium Games/Games of the New Millennium, officially known as the Games of the XXVII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated between 15 September and 1 October 2000 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

 in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, NBC drew the lowest ratings for any Summer or Winter Olympics since 1968. This was attributed to two factors: one was the increased competition from cable channels, the second was the internet, which was able to display results and video in real time. Television companies were still relying on tape-delayed content, which was becoming outdated in the information era. A drop in ratings meant that television studios had to give away free advertising time. With such high costs charged to broadcast the Games, the added pressure of the internet, and increased competition from cable, the television lobby demanded concessions from the IOC to boost ratings. The IOC responded by making a number of changes to the Olympic program. At the Summer Games, the gymnastics competition was expanded from seven to nine nights, and a Champions Gala was added to draw greater interest. The IOC also expanded the swimming and diving programs, both popular sports with a broad base of television viewers. Finally, the American television lobby was able to dictate when certain events were held so that they could be broadcast live during prime time
Prime time
Prime time or primetime is the block of broadcast programming during the middle of the evening for television programing.The term prime time is often defined in terms of a fixed time period—for example, from 19:00 to 22:00 or 20:00 to 23:00 Prime time or primetime is the block of broadcast...

 in the United States. The result of these efforts was mixed: the ratings for the 2006 Winter Games, held in Torino, Italy, were significantly lower than those for the 2002 Games, while there was a sharp increase in viewership for the 2008 Summer Olympics, staged in Beijing.

Controversy


The sale of the Olympic brand has been controversial. The argument is that the Games have become indistinguishable from any other commercialized sporting spectacle. Specific criticism was levelled at the IOC for market saturation during the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games. The cities were awash in corporations and merchants attempting to sell Olympic-related wares. The IOC indicated that they would address this to prevent spectacles of over-marketing at future Games. Another criticism is that the Games are funded by host cities and national governments; the IOC incurs none of the cost, yet controls all the rights and profits from the Olympic symbols. The IOC also takes a percentage of all sponsorship and broadcast income. Host cities continue to compete ardently for the right to host the Games, even though there is no certainty that they will earn back their investments.

Symbols



The Olympic Movement uses symbols to represent the ideals embodied in the Olympic Charter. The Olympic symbol, better known as the Olympic rings, consists of five intertwined rings and represents the unity of the five inhabited continents (America, Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe). The colored version of the rings—blue, yellow, black, green, and red—over a white field forms the Olympic flag. These colors were chosen because every nation had at least one of them on its national flag. The flag was adopted in 1914 but flown for the first time only at the 1920 Summer Olympics
1920 Summer Olympics
The 1920 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium....

 in Antwerp, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

. It has since been hoisted during each celebration of the Games.

The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, a Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 expression meaning "Faster, Higher, Stronger". Coubertin's ideals are further expressed in the Olympic creed:
Months before each Games, the Olympic flame
Olympic Flame
The Olympic Flame or Olympic Torch is a symbol of the Olympic Games. Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, its origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics. The fire was reintroduced at the 1928...

 is lit in Olympia in a ceremony that reflects ancient Greek rituals. A female performer, acting as a priestess, ignites a torch by placing it inside a parabolic mirror which focuses the sun's rays; she then lights the torch of the first relay bearer, thus initiating the Olympic torch relay that will carry the flame to the host city's Olympic stadium, where it plays an important role in the opening ceremony. Though the flame has been an Olympic symbol since 1928
1928 Summer Olympics
The 1928 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1928 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amsterdam had bid for the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, but had to give way to war-victim Antwerp, Belgium, and Pierre de...

, the torch relay was introduced at the 1936 Summer Games
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

, as part of the German government's attempt to promote its National Socialist ideology.

The Olympic mascot, an animal or human figure representing the cultural heritage of the host country, was introduced in 1968
1968 Summer Olympics
The 1968 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Mexico City, Mexico in October 1968. The 1968 Games were the first Olympic Games hosted by a developing country, and the first Games hosted by a Spanish-speaking country...

. It has played an important part on the Games identity promotion since the 1980 Summer Olympics
1980 Summer Olympics
The 1980 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Moscow in the Soviet Union. In addition, the yachting events were held in Tallinn, and some of the preliminary matches and the quarter-finals of the football tournament...

, when the Russian bear cub Misha
Misha
Misha , also known as Mishka or The Olympic Mishka is the name of the Russian Bear, the mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games . He was designed by children's books illustrator Victor Chizhikov....

 reached international stardom. The mascots of the most recent Summer Olympics, in Beijing, were the Fuwa, five creatures that represent the five fengshui elements important in Chinese culture.

Opening


As mandated by the Olympic Charter, various elements frame the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Most of these rituals were established at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp. The ceremony typically starts with the hoisting of the host country's flag and a performance of its national anthem. The host nation then presents artistic displays of music, singing, dance, and theater representative of its culture. The artistic presentations have grown in scale and complexity as successive hosts attempt to provide a ceremony that outlasts its predecessor's in terms of memorability. The opening ceremony of the Beijing Games reportedly cost $100 million, with much of the cost incurred in the artistic segment.

After the artistic portion of the ceremony, the athletes parade into the stadium grouped by nation. Greece is traditionally the first nation to enter in order to honor the origins of the Olympics. Nations then enter the stadium alphabetically according to the host country's chosen language, with the host country's athletes being the last to enter. During the 2004 Summer Olympics
2004 Summer Olympics
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 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

, which was hosted in Athens, Greece, the Greek flag entered the stadium first, while the Greek delegation entered last. Speeches are given, formally opening the Games. Finally, the Olympic torch is brought into the stadium and passed on until it reaches the final torch carrier—often a well-known and successful Olympic athlete from the host nation—who lights the Olympic flame in the stadium's cauldron.

Closing


The closing ceremony of the Olympic Games takes place after all sporting events have concluded. Flag-bearers from each participating country enter the stadium, followed by the athletes who enter together, without any national distinction.
Three national flags are hoisted while the corresponding national anthems are played: the flag of Greece, to honor the birthplace of the Olympic Games; the flag of the current host country, and the flag of the country hosting the next Summer or Winter Olympic Games.
The president of the organizing committee and the IOC president make their closing speeches, the Games are officially closed, and the Olympic flame is extinguished.
In what is known as the Antwerp Ceremony, the mayor of the city that organized the Games transfers a special Olympic flag to the president of the IOC, who then passes it on to the mayor of the city hosting the next Olympic Games.
After these compulsory elements, the next host nation briefly introduces itself with artistic displays of dance and theater representative of its culture.

Medal presentation


A medal ceremony is held after each Olympic event is concluded. The winner, second and third-place competitors or teams stand on top of a three-tiered rostrum to be awarded their respective medals. After the medals are given out by an IOC member, the national flags of the three medalists are raised while the national anthem
National anthem
A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.- History :Anthems rose to prominence...

 of the gold medalist's country plays. Volunteering citizens of the host country also act as hosts during the medal ceremonies, as they aid the officials who present the medals and act as flag-bearers. For every Olympic event, the respective medal ceremony is held, at most, one day after the event's final. For the men's marathon, the competition is usually held early in the morning on the last day of Olympic competition and its medal ceremony is then held in the evening during the closing ceremony.

Sports


The Olympic Games program
Olympic sports
Olympic sports, as defined by the International Olympic Committee, are all the sports contested in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The Summer Olympics, as of 2012, will include 26 sports, with two additionall sports due to be added in 2016...

 consists of 35 sports, 30 disciplines and nearly 400 events. For example, wrestling
Wrestling at the Summer Olympics
Wrestling has been contested at the Summer Olympic Games since the sport was introduced in the ancient Olympic Games in 708 BC. When the modern Olympic Games resumed in Athens in 1896, wrestling became a focus of the Games, with the exception of the 1900 Summer Olympics when wrestling did not...

 is a Summer Olympic sport, comprising two disciplines: Greco-Roman
Greco-Roman wrestling
Greco-Roman wrestling is a style of wrestling that is practised worldwide. It was contested at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been included in every edition of the summer Olympics held since 1908. Two wrestlers are scored for their performance in three two-minute periods, which can...

 and Freestyle
Freestyle wrestling
Freestyle wrestling is a style of amateur wrestling that is practised throughout the world. Along with Greco-Roman, it is one of the two styles of wrestling contested in the Olympic games. It is, along with track and field, one of the oldest organized sports in history...

. It is further broken down into fourteen events for men and four events for women, each representing a different weight class. The Summer Olympics program includes 26 sports, while the Winter Olympics program features 15 sports. Athletics
Athletics at the Summer Olympics
Athletics has been contested at every Summer Olympics since the birth of the modern Olympic movement at the 1896 Summer Olympics. The athletics program traces its earliest roots to events used in the ancient Greek Olympics. The modern program now comprises track and field events, road running...

, swimming
Swimming at the Summer Olympics
Swimming has been a sport at every modern Summer Olympics. It has been open to women since 1912. Along with track & field athletics and gymnastics it is one of the most popular spectator sports at the Games and the one with the largest number of events....

, fencing
Fencing at the Summer Olympics
Fencing has been contested at every Summer Olympic Games since the birth of the modern Olympic movement at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens. Women's foil made its Olympic debut in Paris, during the 1924 Olympic Games...

, and artistic gymnastics
Gymnastics at the Summer Olympics
Gymnastics events have been contested at every Summer Olympic Games since the birth of the modern Olympic movement at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens. For 32 years, only men were allowed to compete. Beginning at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, women were allowed to compete in artistic...

 are the only summer sports that have never been absent from the Olympic program. Cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined
Nordic combined at the Winter Olympics
The Nordic combined events have been contested at the Winter Olympic Games since 1924. The first competition involved 18 km cross-country skiing, followed by ski jumping. Whoever earned the most points from both competitions won the event. At the 1952 Winter Olympics, the ski jumping was held...

, ski jumping
Ski jumping at the Winter Olympics
Ski jumping has been included in the program of every Winter Olympic Games. From 1924 through 1956, the competition involved jumping from one hill whose length varied from each edition games to the next. Most historians have placed this length at 70 meters and have classified this as the large hill...

, and speed skating
Speed skating at the Winter Olympics
Speed skating has been featured as a sport in the Winter Olympics since the first winter games in 1924. Women's events were added to the Olympic program for the first time in 1960.-History:...

 have been featured at every Winter Olympics program since its inception in 1924
1924 Winter Olympics
The 1924 Winter Olympics, officially known as the I Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was held in 1924 in Chamonix, France...

. Current Olympic sports, like badminton
Badminton at the Summer Olympics
Badminton had its debut at the 1992 Summer Olympics and has been contested in 5 Olympiads. 50 different nations have appeared in the Olympic badminton competitions, with 19 appearing all 5 times. It is governed by the Badminton World Federation.-History:...

, basketball
Basketball at the Summer Olympics
Basketball has been a Summer Olympics sport for men consistently since 1936. Prior to its inclusion as a medal sport, it was held as demonstration event in 1904 and 1932, both in the United States. Women's basketball was played in the Olympics only since 1976....

, and volleyball
Volleyball at the Summer Olympics
Volleyball has been contested as an indoor sport at the Summer Olympic Games since 1964. Beach volleyball was introduced at the 1992 Games, and has been an official Olympic sport since 1996.-Origins:...

, first appeared on the program as demonstration sport
Demonstration sport
A demonstration sport is a sport which is played to promote itself, most commonly during the Olympic Games, but also at other sporting events.Demonstration sports were officially introduced in 1912 Summer Olympics, when Sweden decided to include glima, traditional Icelandic wrestling, in the...

s, and were later promoted to full Olympic sports. Some sports that were featured in earlier Games were later dropped from the program.

Olympic sports are governed by international sports federations (IFs) recognized by the IOC as the global supervisors of those sports. There are 35 federations represented at the IOC. There are sports recognized by the IOC that are not included on the Olympic program. These sports are not considered Olympic sports, but they can be promoted to this status during a program revision that occurs in the first IOC session following a celebration of the Olympic Games. During such revisions, sports can be excluded or included in the program on the basis of a two-thirds majority vote of the members of the IOC. There are recognized sports that have never been on an Olympic program in any capacity, including chess and surfing.

In October and November 2004, the IOC established an Olympic Programme Commission, which was tasked with reviewing the sports on the Olympic program and all non-Olympic recognized sports. The goal was to apply a systematic approach to establishing the Olympic program for each celebration of the Games. The commission formulated seven criteria to judge whether a sport should be included on the Olympic program. These criteria are history and tradition of the sport, universality, popularity of the sport, image, athletes' health, development of the International Federation that governs the sport, and costs of holding the sport. From this study five recognized sports emerged as candidates for inclusion at the 2012 Summer Olympics: golf, karate, rugby union, roller sports and squash. These sports were reviewed by the IOC Executive Board and then referred to the General Session in Singapore in July 2005. Of the five sports recommended for inclusion only two were selected as finalists: karate and squash. Neither sport attained the required two-thirds vote and consequently they were not promoted to the Olympic program. In October 2009 the IOC voted to instate golf and rugby union as Olympic sports for the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

The 114th IOC Session, in 2002, limited the Summer Games program to a maximum of 28 sports, 301 events, and 10,500 athletes. Three years later, at the 117th IOC Session
117th IOC Session
The 117th International Olympic Committee Session was held for the first time in Singapore from 2 July to 9 July 2005. The meeting was particularly significant as two important decisions were made through voting during the session - namely the selection of the hosting city for the 2012 Summer...

, the first major program revision was performed, which resulted in the exclusion of baseball
Baseball at the Summer Olympics
Baseball at the Summer Olympics had its unofficial debut at the 1904 Summer Games and its official sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Baseball has a long history as an exhibition/demonstration sport in the Olympics. However, for 1992 Barcelona the International Olympic Committee granted the sport...

 and softball
Softball at the Summer Olympics
Softball was introduced as an Olympic sport for women in the 1996 Summer Olympics. On July 11, 2005, the IOC voted to drop baseball and softball from the Olympic program for 2012, a decision that was reaffirmed on February 9, 2006...

 from the official program of the 2012 London Games
2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the "London 2012 Olympic Games", are scheduled to take place in London, England, United Kingdom from 27 July to 12 August 2012...

. Since there was no agreement in the promotion of two other sports, the 2012 program will feature just 26 sports. The 2016 and 2020 Games will return to the maximum of 28 sports given the addition of rugby and golf.

Amateurism and professionalism




The ethos
Ethos
Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence its hearer's emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Early Greek stories of...

 of the aristocracy as exemplified in the English Independent school greatly influenced Pierre de Coubertin. The independent schools subscribed to the belief that sport formed an important part of education, an attitude summed up in the saying mens sana in corpore sano
Mens sana in corpore sano
Mens sana in corpore sano is a famous Latin quotation, often translated as "A sound mind in a sound body." There is also a sports equipment company with a name based on a twist of this quotation...

, a sound mind in a sound body. In this ethos, a gentleman was one who became an all-rounder, not the best at one specific thing. There was also a prevailing concept of fairness, in which practicing or training was considered tantamount to cheating. Those who practiced a sport professionally were considered to have an unfair advantage over those who practiced it merely as a hobby.

The exclusion of professionals caused several controversies throughout the history of the modern Olympics. The 1912 Olympic
1912 Summer Olympics
The 1912 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the V Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Stockholm, Sweden, between 5 May and 27 July 1912. Twenty-eight nations and 2,407 competitors, including 48 women, competed in 102 events in 14 sports...

 pentathlon
Pentathlon
A pentathlon is a contest featuring five different events. The name is derived from Greek: combining the words pente and -athlon . The first pentathlon was documented in Ancient Greece and was part of the Ancient Olympic Games...

 and decathlon
Decathlon
The decathlon is a combined event in athletics consisting of ten track and field events. The word decathlon is of Greek origin . Events are held over two consecutive days and the winners are determined by the combined performance in all. Performance is judged on a points system in each event, not...

 champion Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe
Jacobus Franciscus "Jim" Thorpe * Gerasimo and Whiteley. pg. 28 * americaslibrary.gov, accessed April 23, 2007. was an American athlete of mixed ancestry...

 was stripped of his medals when it was discovered that he had played semi-professional baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 before the Olympics. His medals were posthumously restored by the IOC in 1983 on compassionate grounds. Swiss and Austrian skiers boycotted the 1936 Winter Olympics
1936 Winter Olympics
The 1936 Winter Olympics, officially known as the IV Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1936 in the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. Germany also hosted the Summer Olympics the same year in Berlin...

 in support of their skiing teachers, who were not allowed to compete because they earned money with their sport and were thus considered professionals.

As class structure evolved through the 20th century, the definition of the amateur athlete as an aristocratic gentleman became outdated. The advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete" of the Eastern Bloc countries further eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put the self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage. Nevertheless, the IOC held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism. Beginning in the 1970s, amateurism requirements were gradually phased out of the Olympic Charter. After the 1988 Games, the IOC decided to make all professional athletes eligible for the Olympics, subject to the approval of the IFs.
As of 2004, the only sports in which no professionals compete are boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

 and wrestling
Wrestling
Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

, although even this requires a definition of amateurism based on fight rules rather than on payment, as some boxers and wrestlers receive cash prizes from their National Olympic Committees. In men's football (soccer)
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

, only three professional players over the age of 23 are eligible to participate per team in the Olympic tournament.

Boycotts


Australia, Great Britain and Switzerland are the only countries to send a team to every Olympic Games since their inception in 1896. Most countries miss an Olympics due to a lack of qualified athletes, but some choose to boycott a celebration of the Games for several different reasons.
The Olympic Council of Ireland
Olympic Council of Ireland
The Olympic Council of Ireland or OCI is the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Ireland. Its mission is "to develop and protect the Olympic Movement in Ireland, in accordance with the International Olympic Committee’s guiding document — the Olympic Charter."-History:After the First...

 boycotted the 1936 Berlin Games
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

, because the IOC insisted its team needed to be restricted to the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 rather than representing the entire island of Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. There were three boycotts of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
1956 Summer Olympics
The 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVI Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in Melbourne, Australia, in 1956, with the exception of the equestrian events, which could not be held in Australia due to quarantine regulations...

: Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland refused to attend because of the repression of the Hungarian uprising
1956 Hungarian Revolution
The Hungarian Revolution or Uprising of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956....

 by the Soviet Union, but did send an equestrian delegation to Stockholm; Cambodia, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon boycotted the Games because of the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

; and China (the "People's Republic of China") boycotted the Games because Taiwan (the "Republic of China") was allowed to compete in the games.
In 1972
1972 Summer Olympics
The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972....

 and 1976
1976 Summer Olympics
The 1976 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1976. Montreal was awarded the rights to the 1976 Games on May 12, 1970, at the 69th IOC Session in Amsterdam, over the bids of Moscow and...

 a large number of African countries threatened the IOC with a boycott to force them to ban South Africa and Rhodesia, because of their segregationist
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 regimes. New Zealand was also one of the African boycott targets, because its national rugby union team had toured apartheid-ruled South Africa. The IOC conceded in the first two cases, but refused to ban New Zealand on the grounds that rugby was not an Olympic sport. Fulfilling their threat, twenty African countries were joined by Guyana and Iraq in a Tanzania-led withdrawal from the Montreal Games, after a few of their athletes had already competed.
Taiwan also decided to boycott these Games because the People's Republic of China (PRC) exerted pressure on the Montreal organizing committee to keep the delegation from the Republic of China (ROC) from competing under that name. The ROC refused a proposed compromise that would have still allowed them to use the ROC flag
Flag of the Republic of China
The Flag of the Republic of China is red with a navy blue canton bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays. In Chinese, the flag is commonly described as Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth to reflect its attributes....

 and anthem
National Anthem of the Republic of China
"National Anthem of the Republic of China" is the current national anthem of the Republic of China .The Republic of China was recognized as the government of mainland China prior to 1949. Since then the Republic of China has controlled Taiwan and some other nearby islands...

 as long as the name was changed. Taiwan did not participate again until 1984, when it returned under the name of Chinese Taipei and with a special flag and anthem.

In 1980 and 1984, the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 opponents boycotted each other's Games. Sixty-five nations refused to compete at the Moscow Olympics
1980 Summer Olympics
The 1980 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Moscow in the Soviet Union. In addition, the yachting events were held in Tallinn, and some of the preliminary matches and the quarter-finals of the football tournament...

 in 1980 because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This boycott reduced the number of nations participating to 81, the lowest number since 1956. The Soviet Union and 14 of its Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 partners (except Romania
Romania at the 1984 Summer Olympics
Romania competed at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, United States. 124 competitors, 71 men and 53 women, took part in 86 events in 13 sports. Notably, Romania was the only Eastern Bloc nation to participate at these Games; all others followed the Soviet Union's boycott of the Games...

) countered by boycotting the Los Angeles Olympics
1984 Summer Olympics
The 1984 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Los Angeles, California, United States in 1984...

 of 1984, contending that they could not guarantee the safety of their athletes. Soviet officials defended their decision to withdraw from the Games by saying that "chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria are being whipped up in the United States". The boycotting nations of the Eastern Bloc staged their own alternate event, the Friendship Games
Friendship Games
The Friendship Games or Friendship-84 was an international multi-sport event held between 2 July and 16 September 1984 in the Soviet Union and eight other socialist states which boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles....

, in July and August.

There had been growing calls for boycotts of Chinese goods and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in protest of China's human rights record
Human rights in the People's Republic of China
Human rights in the People's Republic of China are a matter of dispute between the Chinese government, other countries, international NGOs, and dissidents inside the country. Organizations such as the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have accused the Chinese...

, and in response to Tibetan disturbances
2008 Tibetan unrest
The 2008 Tibetan unrest, also known from its Chinese name as the 3•14 Riots, was a series of riots, protests, and demonstrations that started in Tibetan regional capital of Lhasa and spread to other Tibetan areas and a number of monasteries including outside the Tibet Autonomous Region...

 and ongoing conflict in Darfur
War in Darfur
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

. Ultimately, no nation supported a boycott. In August 2008, the government of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics
2014 Winter Olympics
The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially the XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event scheduled to be celebrated from 7 to 23 February 2014, in Sochi, Russia with some events held in the resort town of Krasnaya Polyana. Both the Olympic and...

, set to be held in Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, in response to Russia's participation in the 2008 South Ossetia war
2008 South Ossetia war
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other....

.

Politics



The Olympic Games have been used as a platform to promote political ideologies almost from its inception. Nazi Germany wished to portray the Nationalist Socialist Party as benevolent and peace-loving when they hosted the 1936 Games, though they used the Games to display Aryan
Aryan
Aryan is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya and denoting variously*In scholarly usage:**Indo-Iranian languages *in dated usage:**the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers...

 superiority. Germany was the most successful nation at the Games, which did much to support their allegations of Aryan
Aryan
Aryan is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya and denoting variously*In scholarly usage:**Indo-Iranian languages *in dated usage:**the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers...

 supremacy, but notable victories by African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens was an American track and field athlete who specialized in the sprints and the long jump. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the...

, who won four gold medals, and Hungarian
Hungary at the 1936 Summer Olympics
Hungary competed at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. 216 competitors, 197 men and 19 women, took part in 105 events in 21 sports.- Gold:...

 Jew Ibolya Csák
Ibolya Csák
Ibolya Csák was a Hungarian athlete.-Career:She was best known as the winner of the women's high jump at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. She won a gold medal in the European Championships in Athletics in 1938 in unusual circumstances...

, blunted the message. The Soviet Union did not participate until the 1952 Summer Olympics
1952 Summer Olympics
The 1952 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. Helsinki had been earlier given the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II...

 in Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

. Instead, starting in 1928, the Soviets organized an international sports event called Spartakiad
Spartakiad
Spartakiad initially was the name of an international sports event that the Soviet Union attempted to use to both oppose and supplement the Olympics...

s. During the interwar period of the 1920s and 1930s, communist and socialist organizations in several countries, including the United States, attempted to counter what they called the "bourgeois" Olympics with the Workers Olympics
Socialist Workers' Sport International
Socialist Workers' Sport International was an international socialist sporting organisation, based in Lucerne. It was founded in 1920, and consisted of six national federations at the time of its foundation. Initially it was known as International Association for Sports and Physical Culture...

. It was not until the 1956 Summer Games
Soviet Union at the 1956 Summer Olympics
The Soviet Union competed at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. 272 competitors, 233 men and 39 women, took part in 135 events in 17 sports.-Medalists:...

 that the Soviets emerged as a sporting superpower and, in doing so, took full advantage of the publicity that came with winning at the Olympics.
Individual athletes have also used the Olympic stage to promote their own political agenda. At the 1968 Summer Olympics
1968 Summer Olympics
The 1968 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Mexico City, Mexico in October 1968. The 1968 Games were the first Olympic Games hosted by a developing country, and the first Games hosted by a Spanish-speaking country...

 in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, two American track and field
Track and field
Track and field is a sport comprising various competitive athletic contests based around the activities of running, jumping and throwing. The name of the sport derives from the venue for the competitions: a stadium which features an oval running track surrounding a grassy area...

 athletes, Tommie Smith
Tommie Smith
Tommie Smith is an African American former track & field athlete and wide receiver in the American Football League. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, Smith won the 200-meter dash finals in 19.83 seconds – the first time the 20 second barrier was broken...

 and John Carlos
John Carlos
John Wesley Carlos is a Cuban American former track and field athlete and professional football player. He was the bronze-medal winner in the 200 meters at the 1968 Summer Olympics and his black power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy...

, who finished first and third in the 200 meters, performed the Black Power salute
1968 Olympics Black Power salute
The 1968 Olympics Black Power salute involved the African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos giving the Black power salute at the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City...

 on the victory stand. The second place finisher, Peter Norman
Peter Norman
Peter George Norman was an Australian track athlete best known for winning the silver medal in the 200 metres at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. His time of 20.06 seconds still stands as the Australian 200m record. He was a five-time Australian 200m champion...

 of Australia, wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights
Olympic Project for Human Rights
The Olympic Project for Human Rights or OPHR was an organisation established by sociologist Harry Edwards and others, including noted Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos, in October 1967. The aim of the organization was to protest racial segregation in the United States and elsewhere , and...

 badge in support of Smith and Carlos. In response to the protest, IOC President Avery Brundage
Avery Brundage
Avery Brundage was an American amateur athlete, sports official, art collector, and philanthropist. Brundage competed in the 1912 Olympics and was the US national all-around athlete in 1914, 1916 and 1918...

 told the United States Olympic Committee
United States Olympic Committee
The United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit organization that serves as the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States and coordinates the relationship between the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency and various...

 (USOC) to either send the two athletes home or withdraw the track and field team. The USOC opted for the former.

Currently, the government of Iran has taken steps to avoid any competition between its athletes and those from Israel. An Iranian judoka, Arash Miresmaeli, did not compete in a match against an Israeli during the 2004 Summer Olympics
2004 Summer Olympics
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 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

. Although he was officially disqualified for being overweight, Miresmaeli was awarded US$125,000 in prize money by the Iranian government, an amount paid to all Iranian gold medal winners. He was officially cleared of intentionally avoiding the bout, but his receipt of the prize money raised suspicion.

Use of performance enhancing drugs




In the early 20th century, many Olympic athletes began using drugs to improve their athletic abilities. For example, the winner of the marathon at the 1904 Games
1904 Summer Olympics
The 1904 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States from 1 July 1904, to November 23, 1904, at what is now known as Francis Field on the campus of Washington University...

, Thomas Hicks, was given strychnine
Strychnine
Strychnine is a highly toxic , colorless crystalline alkaloid used as a pesticide, particularly for killing small vertebrates such as birds and rodents. Strychnine causes muscular convulsions and eventually death through asphyxia or sheer exhaustion...

 and brandy
Brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

 by his coach. The only Olympic death linked to doping occurred at the Rome Games of 1960
1960 Summer Olympics
The 1960 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held from August 25 to September 11, 1960 in Rome, Italy...

. During the cycling road race, Danish
Denmark at the 1960 Summer Olympics
Denmark competed at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy. 100 competitors, 88 men and 12 women, took part in 46 events in 15 sports.- Gold:* Paul Elvstrøm — Sailing, men's Finn individual competition...

 cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen
Knud Enemark Jensen
Knud Enemark Jensen was a Danish cyclist who died while participating in the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. He is notable for having been involved in an early doping scandal....

 fell from his bicycle and later died. A coroner's inquiry found that he was under the influence of amphetamines. By the mid-1960s, sports federations were starting to ban the use of performance enhancing drugs; in 1967 the IOC followed suit.

The first Olympic athlete to test positive for the use of performance enhancing drugs was Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall
Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall
Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall is a Swedish modern pentathlete who caused the disqualification of the Swedish men's team at the 1968 Summer Olympics held in Mexico City for his alcohol use...

, a Swedish pentathlete
Modern pentathlon
The modern pentathlon is a sports contest that includes five events: pistol shooting, épée fencing, 200 m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3 km cross-country run...

 at the 1968 Summer Olympics
1968 Summer Olympics
The 1968 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Mexico City, Mexico in October 1968. The 1968 Games were the first Olympic Games hosted by a developing country, and the first Games hosted by a Spanish-speaking country...

, who lost his bronze medal for alcohol use. The most publicized doping-related disqualification was that of Canadian
Canada at the 1988 Summer Olympics
Canada competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. 328 competitors, 223 men and 105 women, took part in 193 events in 23 sports. Most Canadians remember this as being the Olympics where Ben Johnson apparently won the gold medal and set a world record in the men's 100 metres, and then was...

 sprinter Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson (athlete)
Benjamin Sinclair "Ben" Johnson, CM , is a former sprinter from Canada, who enjoyed a high-profile career during most of the 1980s, winning two Olympic bronze medals and an Olympic gold, which was subsequently rescinded...

, who won the 100 meter dash
Athletics at the 1988 Summer Olympics
At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul a total number of 42 events in athletics were contested: 24 by men and 18 by women. There were a total number of 1617 participating athletes from 149 countries.-Men's events:...

 at the 1988 Seoul Olympics
1988 Summer Olympics
The 1988 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, were an all international multi-sport events celebrated from September 17 to October 2, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. They were the second summer Olympic Games to be held in Asia and the first since the 1964 Summer Olympics...

 but tested positive for stanozolol
Stanozolol
Stanozolol, commonly sold under the name Winstrol , Tenabol and Winstrol Depot , was developed by Winthrop Laboratories in 1962...

. His gold medal was subsequently stripped and awarded to runner-up Carl Lewis
Carl Lewis
Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis is an American former track and field athlete, who won 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold, and 10 World Championships medals, of which 8 were gold. His career spanned from 1979 when he first achieved a world ranking to 1996 when he last won an Olympic title and...

, who himself had tested positive for banned substances prior to the Olympics.

In the late 1990s, the IOC took the initiative in a more organized battle against doping, by forming the World Anti-Doping Agency
World Anti-Doping Agency
The World Anti-Doping Agency , , is an independent foundation created through a collective initiative led by the International Olympic Committee . It was set up on November 10, 1999 in Lausanne, Switzerland, as a result of what was called the "Declaration of Lausanne", to promote, coordinate and...

 (WADA) in 1999. There was a sharp increase in positive drug tests at the 2000 Summer Olympics and 2002 Winter Olympics
2002 Winter Olympics
The 2002 Winter Olympics, officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event that was celebrated in February 2002 in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Approximately 2,400 athletes from 77 nations participated in 78 events in fifteen disciplines, held throughout...

. Several medalists in weightlifting and cross-country skiing were disqualified because of doping offenses. During the 2006 Winter Olympics, only one athlete failed a drug test and had a medal revoked. The IOC-established drug testing regimen (now known as the Olympic Standard) has set the worldwide benchmark that other sporting federations around the world attempt to emulate. During the Beijing games, 3,667 athletes were tested by the IOC under the auspices of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Both urine and blood tests were used to detect banned substances. Several athletes were barred from competition by their National Olympic Committees prior to the Games; only three athletes failed drug tests while in competition in Beijing.

Gender discrimination


Women athletes were first allowed to compete at the 1900 Summer Olympics
1900 Summer Olympics
The 1900 Summer Olympics, today officially known as the Games of the II Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1900 in Paris, France. No opening or closing ceremonies were held; competitions began on May 14 and ended on October 28. The Games were held as part of...

 in Paris, but at the 1992 Summer Olympics
1992 Summer Olympics
The 1992 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event celebrated in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, in 1992. The International Olympic Committee voted in 1986 to separate the Summer and Winter Games, which had been held in the same...

 thirty-five countries were still fielding all-male delegations. This number dropped rapidly over the following years. In 1996, Lita Fariman was the first woman to compete for Iran at the Olympics, in shooting. In 2000, Bahrain
Bahrain at the Olympics
Bahrain has competed in 6 Summer Games. They have never competed in the Winter Games.Bahrain has never won an Olympic medal. In 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing Rashid Ramzi was originally awarded the gold medal in athletics in men's 1,500 meters but was later stripped due to doping violation....

 sent two women competitors for the first time: Fatema Hameed Gerashi
Fatema Hameed Gerashi
Fatema Hameed Gerashi, born in 1987 or 1988, is a Bahraini swimmer.She represented her country at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, competing in the women's 50 metres freestyle race. At the age of 12, she was the youngest competitor of any event and any nationality at the Sydney Games...

 and Mariam Mohamed Hadi Al Hilli
Mariam Mohamed Hadi Al Hilli
Mariam Mohamed Hadi Al Hilli is a Bahraini Olympic athlete, who specialises in the 100 metres sprint. She was one of the two Bahraini women to participate in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 on behalf of the Middle Eastern island, the other being Fatema Hameed Gerashi...

. In 2004, Robina Muqim Yaar and Friba Razayee
Friba Razayee
Friba Rezayee is an Afghan judoka. In 2004, along with Robina Muqimyar, she was the first Afghan woman to participate in the Olympic Games....

 became the first women to compete for Afghanistan at the Olympics
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. In 2008, the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates at the Olympics
United Arab Emirates have competed in seven Summer Olympic Games. They have never appeared in the Winter Games. UAE won their first medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.- List of medalists :...

 sent female athletes (Maitha Al Maktoum competed in taekwondo, and Latifa Al Maktoum in equestrian) to the Olympic Games for the first time. Both athletes were from Dubai's ruling family
Al Maktoum
Al Maktoum is the family name of the ruling dynasty of the emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Al Maktoum family is a branch of the Bani Yas tribe , a powerful bedouin clan from the interior...

.

By 2010 only three countries had never sent female athletes to the Games: Brunei
Brunei at the Olympics
Brunei, as Brunei Darussalam, first participated at the Olympic Games in 1988, with a single official but no athletes. The nation sent athletes to compete in the Summer Olympic Games in 1996, 2000 and 2004. On each occasion, it was represented by a single athlete...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia at the Olympics
Saudi Arabia has competed in eight Summer Olympic Games. They first appeared in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany. They have never competed in the Winter Games. By Saudi Arabian law, women are not permitted to compete in the Olympic Games...

 and Qatar
Qatar at the Olympics
Qatar has competed in 7 Summer Olympic Games. They have never competed in the Winter Olympic Games. They have so far won 2 bronze medals.Following the 2008 Summer Olympics, Qatar was, along with Saudi Arabia and Brunei, one of only three countries never have sent a female athlete to the Olympic Games...

. Brunei had taken part in only three celebrations of the Games, sending a single athlete on each occasion, but Saudi Arabia and Qatar had been competing regularly with all-male teams. In 2010, the International Olympic Committee announced it would "press" these countries to enable and facilitate the participation of women for the 2012 Summer Games
2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the "London 2012 Olympic Games", are scheduled to take place in London, England, United Kingdom from 27 July to 12 August 2012...

; Anita DeFrantz
Anita DeFrantz
Anita DeFrantz is an American Olympic Athlete and member of the International Olympic Committee.She was captain of the American rowing team at the 1976 Summer Olympics.-External links:*]...

, chair of the IOC's Women and Sports Commission, suggested that countries be barred if they prevented women from competing. Shortly thereafter, the Qatar Olympic Committee
Qatar Olympic Committee
Qatar Olympic Committee is the National Olympic Committee representing Qatar.- External links :**http://www.olympic.qa Qatar Olympic Committee Home Page...

 announced that it "hoped to send up to four female athletes in shooting
Shooting at the 2012 Summer Olympics
Shooting competitions at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London are scheduled to be held from 28 July to 5 August at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. Fifteen events are expected to be included with 390 athletes expected to take part...

 and fencing
Fencing at the 2012 Summer Olympics
Fencing competitions at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London are scheduled to be held from 28 July to 5 August at ExCeL Exhibition Centre. Ten events are scheduled to be contested...

" to the 2012 Summer Games in London. In Saudi Arabia, by contrast, national law explicitly prohibits women from competing at the Olympics - the only country where this is the case.

In 2008, Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, likewise called for Saudi Arabia to be barred from the Games, describing its ban on women athletes as a violation of the International Olympic Committee charter. He noted: "For the last 15 years, many international nongovernmental organizations worldwide have been trying to lobby the IOC for better enforcement of its own laws banning gender discrimination. [...] While their efforts did result in increasing numbers of women Olympians, the IOC has been reluctant to take a strong position and threaten the discriminating countries with suspension or expulsion." In July 2010, The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

 reported: "Pressure is growing on the International Olympic Committee to kick out Saudi Arabia, who are likely to be the only major nation not to include women in their Olympic team for 2012. [...] Should Saudi Arabia [...] send a male-only team to London, we understand they will face protests from equal rights and women's groups which threaten to disrupt the Games".

The only sport on the Olympic programme that features men and women competing together is the equestrian disciplines. There is no "Women's Eventing", or 'Men's Dressage'. As of 2008 there were still more medal events for men than women. With the addition of women's boxing to the programme in 2012 Summer Olympics, however, female athletes will be able to compete in all the same sports as men.

Violence


Three Olympiad
Olympiad
An Olympiad is a period of four years, associated with the Olympic Games of Classical Greece. In the Hellenistic period, beginning with Ephorus, Olympiads were used as calendar epoch....

s had to pass without a celebration of the Games because of war: the 1916 Games
1916 Summer Olympics
The anticipated 1916 Summer Olympics, which were to be officially known as the Games of the VI Olympiad, were to have been held in Berlin, Germany. However, due to the outbreak of World War I, the games were cancelled.-History:...

 were cancelled because of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, and the summer and winter games of 1940 and 1944 were cancelled because of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The South Ossetia War
2008 South Ossetia war
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other....

 between Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 erupted on the opening day of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Both President Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 and Prime Minister Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 were attending the Olympics at that time and spoke together about the conflict at a luncheon hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

. When Nino Salukvadze
Nino Salukvadze
Nino Salukvadze is a female Georgian sports shooter. She is a three-time Olympian, winning gold and silver while competing for the Soviet Union in 1988, and won bronze for Georgia in 2008....

 of Georgia won the bronze medal in the 10 meter air pistol
Shooting at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Shooting competitions at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing were held from August 9 to August 17, at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall and Beijing Shooting Range Clay Target Field...

 competition, she stood on the medal podium with Natalia Paderina
Natalia Paderina
Natalia Paderina is a Russian sport shooter. She won the silver medal in Women's 10m air pistol at the 2008 Summer Olympics. At that event, she shared the podium with bronze medalist Nino Salukvadze of Georgia. Georgia and Russia were at war at the time...

, a Russian shooter who had won the silver. In what became a much-publicized event from the Beijing Games, Salukvadze and Paderina embraced on the podium after the ceremony had ended.

Terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 has had an impact on the Olympic Games. In 1972, when the Summer Games
1972 Summer Olympics
The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972....

 were held in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, Germany, eleven members of the Israel
Israel at the Olympics
Israel has competed at the Olympic Games as a nation since 1952. Its National Olympic Committee was formed in 1933 during the British Mandate of Palestine. As the team represented the Jewish community, it boycotted the 1936 Games in Germany in protest of the Nazi Party's anti-Semitic policies...

i Olympic team were taken hostage by the terrorist group Black September
Black September (group)
The Black September Organization was a Palestinian paramilitary group, founded in 1970. It was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes and officials, and fatal shooting of a West German policeman, during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, their most publicized event...

 in what is now known as the Munich massacre
Munich massacre
The Munich massacre is an informal name for events that occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Bavaria in southern West Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September. Members of Black September...

. The terrorists killed two of the athletes soon after they had taken them hostage and killed the other nine during a failed liberation attempt. A German police officer and 5 terrorists also perished. During the Summer Olympics in 1996
1996 Summer Olympics
The 1996 Summer Olympics of Atlanta, officially known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and unofficially known as the Centennial Olympics, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States....

 in Atlanta, United States, a bomb
Centennial Olympic Park bombing
The Centennial Olympic Park bombing was a terrorist bombing on July 27, 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States during the 1996 Summer Olympics, the first of four committed by Eric Robert Rudolph...

 was detonated at the Centennial Olympic Park
Centennial Olympic Park
Centennial Olympic Park is a 21 acre public park located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA that is owned and operated by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. The park was built by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games as part of the infrastructure improvements for the Centennial...

, which killed two and injured 111 others. The bomb was set by Eric Robert Rudolph
Eric Robert Rudolph
Eric Robert Rudolph , also known as the Olympic Park Bomber, is a criminal responsible for a series of bombings across the southern United States between 1996 and 1998, which killed two people and injured at least 150 others in the name of an anti-abortion and anti-gay agenda...

, an American domestic terrorist
Domestic terrorism in the United States
Domestic terrorism in the United States between 1980 and 2000 consisted of 250 of the 335 incidents confirmed as or suspected to be terrorist acts by the FBI. These 250 attacks are considered domestic by the FBI because they were carried out by U.S...

, who is currently serving a life sentence for the bombing. Security at the Olympic Games has been an increasing concern and focus for Olympic planners since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

IOC Rules for Citizenship


The Olympic Charter requires that an athlete is a national of the country they compete for. Dual nationals may compete for either country, as long as three years have passed between when the competitor competed for his former country. However, if the NOCs and IF involved agree, the IOC Executive Board may reduce or cancel this period. Additionally, it should be noted that this waiting period exists only for those who previously competed for one nation and want to compete for another. If an athlete gains a new or second nationality, they do not have to wait any designated amount of time before participating for the new or second nation. The IOC is only concerned with issues of citizenship and nationality after individual nations have granted citizenship to athletes.

Reasons for Changing Citizenship


Sometimes, athletes become citizens of new nations solely for the purpose of competing in the Olympics. This usually happens either because people are drawn to sponsorships and training facilities in places like the United States or because an athlete does not qualify in their original country. This is usually because there are many qualified athletes in an athlete’s home country and they want to be able to participate as well as help the team of their new country. Between 1992 and 2008, there were about fifty athletes that have immigrated to the United States to compete on the US Olympic team after having previously competed for another nation.

Growing Trend


This controversial trend seems to be growing, especially in the United States. Since 1992, about 60 athletes have competed for the United States after previously competing for another nation, but only since 2000 have foreign-born and trained athletes been contributing to the United States medal count. Hakeem Olajuwon, Nigerian born member of the 1996 United States men’s basketball team, was the only foreign-born athlete to win an Olympic medal for the United States in the 1990s. This can affect the participation of United States born athletes who are pushed out of competition by foreign-born athletes, and can force the United States born athletes to compete for other nations. However, foreign-born athletes can actually help the United States with sports in which they previously had trouble competing in, increasing the chance for US medals. Despite the large contribution many athletes are making to the United States Olympic team, most athletes say they would immigrate to the United States regardless of their status as athletes.

Citizenship Changes and Disputes


One of the most famous cases of changing nationality for the Olympics is Zola Budd, a South African runner who immigrated to the United Kingdom because there was an apartheid era ban on the Olympics in South Africa. Budd was eligible for British citizenship because her grandfather was born there, but British citizens accused the government of expediting the citizenship process for her.

Kenyan American runner Bernard Lagat became a United States citizen in May 2004 and announced it in March 2005. The Kenyan constitution requires that one renounce their Kenyan citizenship when they become a citizen of another nation. Lagat competed for Kenya in the 2004 Athens Olympics but had already become a United States citizen. According to Kenya, he was no longer a Kenyan citizenship, leaving his silver medal in jeopardy. Lagat said he started the citizenship process in late 2003 and did not expect to become an American citizen until after the Athens games.

Basketball player Becky Hammon was not being considered for the United States Olympic team but wanted to play in the games before she got too old, so she immigrated to Russia where she already played in a domestic league during the WNBA offseason. Hammon received criticism from Americans, including the US national team coach, even being called unpatriotic.

Chris Kaman, an American basketball player, gained German citizenship in order to participate and help the German national team qualify for the 2008 Athens Olympics, which they had not done since the 1992 Barcelona games. Kaman was easily able to become a German citizenship because his great-grandparents were German citizens.

Canadian born ice dancer Tanith Belbin became an American citizen in order to compete in the 2006 Turin games because her partner Ben Agosto was an American. President Bush signed special legislation in 2005 to expedite citizenship for Belbin and two Russian born ice dancers so they would qualify for the 2006 Olympics. Belbin and Agosto won a silver medal, giving the United States one more medal than Canada, putting the United States as the sole second place finisher in the medal standings, behind only Germany.

Champions and medalists


The athletes or teams who place first, second, or third in each event receive medals. The winners receive gold medals, which were solid gold until 1912, then made of gilded silver and now gold-plated silver. Every gold medal however must contain at least six grams of pure gold. The runners-up receive silver medals and the third-place athletes are awarded bronze medals. In events contested by a single-elimination tournament
Single-elimination tournament
A single-elimination tournament, also called a knockout, cup or sudden death tournament, is a type of elimination tournament where the loser of each match or bracket is immediately eliminated from winning the championship or first prize in the event...

 (most notably boxing), third place might not be determined and both semifinal losers receive bronze medals. At the 1896 Olympics
1896 Summer Olympics
The 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, was a multi-sport event celebrated in Athens, Greece, from April 6 to April 15, 1896. It was the first international Olympic Games held in the Modern era...

 only the first two received a medal; silver for first and bronze for second. The current three-medal format was introduced at the 1904 Olympics
1904 Summer Olympics
The 1904 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States from 1 July 1904, to November 23, 1904, at what is now known as Francis Field on the campus of Washington University...

. From 1948 onward athletes placing fourth, fifth, and sixth have received certificates, which became officially known as victory diplomas; in 1984 victory diplomas for seventh- and eighth-place finishers were added. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, the gold, silver, and bronze medal winners were also given olive wreaths. The IOC does not keep statistics of medals won, but National Olympic Committees and the media record medal statistics as a measure of success.

Host nations and cities





The host city for an Olympic Games is usually chosen seven years ahead of their celebration. The process of selection is carried out in two phases that span a two-year period. The prospective host city applies to its country's Olympic Committee; if more than one city from the same country submits a proposal to its NOC, the national committee typically holds an internal selection, since only one city per NOC can be presented to the International Olympic Committee for consideration. Once the deadline for submission of proposals by the NOCs is reached, the first phase (Application) begins with the applicant cities asked to complete a questionnaire regarding several key criteria related to the organization of the Olympic Games. In this form, the applicants must give assurances that they will comply with the Olympic Charter and with any other regulations established by the IOC Executive Committee. The evaluation of the filled questionnaires by a specialized group provides the IOC with an overview of each applicant's project and their potential to host the Games. On the basis of this technical evaluation, the IOC Excutive Board selects the applicants that will proceed to the candidature stage.

Once the candidate cities are selected, they must submit to the IOC a bigger and more detailed presentation of their project as part of a candidature file. Each city is thoroughly analyzed by an evaluation commission. This commission will also visit the candidate cities, interviewing local officials and inspecting prospective venue sites, and submit a report on its findings one month prior to the IOC's final decision. During the interview process the candidate city must also guarantee that it will be able to fund the Games. After the work of the evaluation commission, a list of candidates is presented to the General Session of the IOC, which is assembled in a country that must not have a candidate city in the running. The IOC members gathered in the Session have the final vote on the host city. Once elected, the host city bid committee (together with the NOC of the respective country) signs a Host City Contract with the IOC, officially becoming an Olympic host nation and host city.

By 2016, the Olympic Games will have been hosted by 44 cities in 23 countries, but by cities outside Europe and North America on only eight occasions. Since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, the Olympics have been held in Asia or Oceania four times, a sharp increase compared to the previous 92 years of modern Olympic history. The 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 will be the first for a South American country. No bids from countries in Africa have ever succeeded.

The United States has hosted four Summer and four Winter Olympics, more than any other nation. Among Summer Olympics host nations, the United Kingdom has been the host of two Games, and will host its third Olympics in 2012 in London. Germany, Australia, France, and Greece are the other nations to have hosted the Summer Olympics twice. Among host cities, only Los Angeles, Paris, Athens and London have played host to the Olympic Games more than once- each holding that honor twice. With the 2012 Games scheduled to take place in London, the British capital will hold the distinction of hosting the modern Olympics Games three times, more than any other city.

Concerning the Winter Olympics, France has hosted three Games, while Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Japan, and Italy have hosted twice. The most recent Games were held in Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

, Canada's second Winter Olympics and third overall. The next Winter Games will be in Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 in 2014, which will be the first time this nation has hosted.
Olympic Games host cities
Year Summer Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games
The Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad are an international multi-sport event, occurring every four years, organized by the International Olympic Committee. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, a tradition that...

Winter Olympic Games
Winter Olympic Games
The Winter Olympic Games is a sporting event, which occurs every four years. The first celebration of the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The original sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating...

Youth Olympic Games
Youth Olympic Games
The Youth Olympic Games is an international multi-sport event first held in Singapore from August 14 to August 26, 2010. The games are held every four years in staggered summer and winter events consistent with the current Olympic Games format. The age limitation of the athletes is between 14 to 18...

Olympiad Host city No. Host city No. Host City
1896 I
1896 Summer Olympics
The 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, was a multi-sport event celebrated in Athens, Greece, from April 6 to April 15, 1896. It was the first international Olympic Games held in the Modern era...

 
  Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

1900 II
1900 Summer Olympics
The 1900 Summer Olympics, today officially known as the Games of the II Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1900 in Paris, France. No opening or closing ceremonies were held; competitions began on May 14 and ended on October 28. The Games were held as part of...

 
  Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

1904 III
1904 Summer Olympics
The 1904 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States from 1 July 1904, to November 23, 1904, at what is now known as Francis Field on the campus of Washington University...

 
St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Originally awarded to Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, but moved to St. Louis to coincide with the World's Fair
Louisiana Purchase Exposition
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the Saint Louis World's Fair, was an international exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri, United States in 1904.- Background :...

1906 IntercalatedNot recognized by the IOC   Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 
1908 IV
1908 Summer Olympics
The 1908 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the IV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in 1908 in London, England, United Kingdom. These games were originally scheduled to be held in Rome. At the time they were the fifth modern Olympic games...

 
  London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

1912 V
1912 Summer Olympics
The 1912 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the V Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Stockholm, Sweden, between 5 May and 27 July 1912. Twenty-eight nations and 2,407 competitors, including 48 women, competed in 102 events in 14 sports...

 
  Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 
1916 VI
1916 Summer Olympics
The anticipated 1916 Summer Olympics, which were to be officially known as the Games of the VI Olympiad, were to have been held in Berlin, Germany. However, due to the outbreak of World War I, the games were cancelled.-History:...

  Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...


Cancelled because of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

1920 VII
1920 Summer Olympics
The 1920 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium....

 
  Antwerp, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 
1924 VIII
1924 Summer Olympics
The 1924 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VIII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1924 in Paris, France...

 
  Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 
I
1924 Winter Olympics
The 1924 Winter Olympics, officially known as the I Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was held in 1924 in Chamonix, France...

 
  Chamonix
Chamonix
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc or, more commonly, Chamonix is a commune in the Haute-Savoie département in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It was the site of the 1924 Winter Olympics, the first Winter Olympics...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 
1928 IX
1928 Summer Olympics
The 1928 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1928 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amsterdam had bid for the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, but had to give way to war-victim Antwerp, Belgium, and Pierre de...

 
  Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 
II
1928 Winter Olympics
The 1928 Winter Olympics, officially known as the II Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated February 11–19, 1928 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The 1928 Games were the first true Winter Olympics held on its own as they were not in conjunction with a Summer Olympics...

 
  St. Moritz
St. Moritz
St. Moritz is a resort town in the Engadine valley in Switzerland. It is a municipality in the district of Maloja in the Swiss canton of Graubünden...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 
1932 X
1932 Summer Olympics
The 1932 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the X Olympiad, was a major world wide multi-athletic event which was celebrated in 1932 in Los Angeles, California, United States. No other cities made a bid to host these Olympics. Held during the worldwide Great Depression, many nations...

 
  Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

III
1932 Winter Olympics
The 1932 Winter Olympics, officially known as the III Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1932 in Lake Placid, New York, United States. The games opened on February 4 and closed on February 15. It would be the first winter olympics held in the United...

 
  Lake Placid
Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid is a village in the Adirondack Mountains in Essex County, New York, United States. As of the 2000 census, the village had a population of 2,638....

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 
1936 XI
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

 
  Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 
IV
1936 Winter Olympics
The 1936 Winter Olympics, officially known as the IV Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1936 in the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. Germany also hosted the Summer Olympics the same year in Berlin...

 
  Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region, and the district is on the border with Austria...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 
1940 XII
1940 Summer Olympics
The anticipated 1940 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XII Olympiad and originally scheduled to be held from September 21 to October 6, 1940, in Tokyo, Japan, were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II...

  Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 →
  Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 →
Cancelled because of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

V
1940 Winter Olympics
The anticipated 1940 Winter Olympics, which would have been officially known as the V Olympic Winter Games, were to be celebrated in 1940 in Sapporo, Japan.The games were cancelled due to the onset of World War II...

  Sapporo, Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 →
  St. Moritz
St. Moritz
St. Moritz is a resort town in the Engadine valley in Switzerland. It is a municipality in the district of Maloja in the Swiss canton of Graubünden...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 →
  Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region, and the district is on the border with Austria...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 →
Cancelled because of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 
1944 XIII
1944 Summer Olympics
The anticipated 1944 Summer Olympics, which were to be officially known as the Games of the XIII Olympiad, were cancelled due to World War II...

  London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Great Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 →
Cancelled because of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

V
1944 Winter Olympics
The anticipated 1944 Winter Olympics, which would have been officially known as the V Olympic Winter Games , were to be celebrated in February 1944 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy...

  Cortina d'Ampezzo
Cortina d'Ampezzo
Cortina d'Ampezzo is a town and comune in the southern Alps located in Veneto, a region in Northern Italy. Located in the heart of the Dolomites in an alpine valley, it is a popular winter sport resort known for its ski-ranges, scenery, accommodations, shops and après-ski scene...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 →
Cancelled because of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

1948 XIV
1948 Summer Olympics
The 1948 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in London, England, United Kingdom. After a 12-year hiatus because of World War II, these were the first Summer Olympics since the 1936 Games in Berlin...

 
  London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Great Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 
V
1948 Winter Olympics
The 1948 Winter Olympics, officially known as the V Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated in 1948 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The Games were the first to be celebrated after World War II; it had been twelve years since the last Winter Games in 1936...

 
  St. Moritz
St. Moritz
St. Moritz is a resort town in the Engadine valley in Switzerland. It is a municipality in the district of Maloja in the Swiss canton of Graubünden...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 
1952 XV
1952 Summer Olympics
The 1952 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. Helsinki had been earlier given the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II...

 
  Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 
VI
1952 Winter Olympics
The 1952 Winter Olympics, officially known as the VI Olympic Winter Games, took place in Oslo, Norway, from 14 to 25 February 1952. Discussions about Oslo hosting the Winter Olympic Games began as early as 1935; the city wanted to host the 1948 Games, but World War II made that impossible...

 
  Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 
1956 XVI
1956 Summer Olympics
The 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVI Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in Melbourne, Australia, in 1956, with the exception of the equestrian events, which could not be held in Australia due to quarantine regulations...

 
  Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

  +
  Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

Equestrian
Equestrianism
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

 events were held in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. Stockholm had to bid for the equestrian competition separately; it received its own Olympic flame and had its own formal invitations and opening and closing ceremonies, as with all its previous Games.
VII
1956 Winter Olympics
The 1956 Winter Olympics, officially known as the VII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. This celebration of the Games was held from 26 January to 5 February 1956. Cortina, which had originally been awarded the 1944 Winter Olympics, beat out...

 
  Cortina d'Ampezzo
Cortina d'Ampezzo
Cortina d'Ampezzo is a town and comune in the southern Alps located in Veneto, a region in Northern Italy. Located in the heart of the Dolomites in an alpine valley, it is a popular winter sport resort known for its ski-ranges, scenery, accommodations, shops and après-ski scene...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 
1960 XVII
1960 Summer Olympics
The 1960 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held from August 25 to September 11, 1960 in Rome, Italy...

 
  Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 
VIII
1960 Winter Olympics
The 1960 Winter Olympics, officially known as the VIII Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event held between February 18 and 28, 1960 in Squaw Valley, California, United States. In 1955 at the 50th IOC meeting, the organizing committee made the surprise choice to award Squaw Valley as...

 
  Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley Ski Resort
Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, California, is one of the largest ski areas in the United States, and was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It is the second-largest ski area at Lake Tahoe , with 33 chairlifts, and has the only funitel lift in the U.S...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 
1964 XVIII
1964 Summer Olympics
The 1964 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Tokyo, Japan in 1964. Tokyo had been awarded with the organization of the 1940 Summer Olympics, but this honor was subsequently passed to Helsinki because of Japan's...

 
  Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 
IX
1964 Winter Olympics
The 1964 Winter Olympics, officially known as the IX Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in Innsbruck, Austria, from January 29 to February 9, 1964...

 
  Innsbruck
Innsbruck
- Main sights :- Buildings :*Golden Roof*Kaiserliche Hofburg *Hofkirche with the cenotaph of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor*Altes Landhaus...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 
1968 XIX
1968 Summer Olympics
The 1968 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Mexico City, Mexico in October 1968. The 1968 Games were the first Olympic Games hosted by a developing country, and the first Games hosted by a Spanish-speaking country...

 
  Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 
X
1968 Winter Olympics
The 1968 Winter Olympics, officially known as the X Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1968 in Grenoble, France and opened on 6 February. Thirty-seven countries participated...

 
  Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 
1972 XX
1972 Summer Olympics
The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972....

 
  Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 
XI
1972 Winter Olympics
The 1972 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XI Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated from February 3 to February 13, 1972 in Sapporo, Hokkaidō, Japan...

 
  Sapporo, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 
1976 XXI
1976 Summer Olympics
The 1976 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1976. Montreal was awarded the rights to the 1976 Games on May 12, 1970, at the 69th IOC Session in Amsterdam, over the bids of Moscow and...

 
  Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 
XII
1976 Winter Olympics
The 1976 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XII Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated February 4–15, 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria...

 
  Denver, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


  Innsbruck
Innsbruck
- Main sights :- Buildings :*Golden Roof*Kaiserliche Hofburg *Hofkirche with the cenotaph of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor*Altes Landhaus...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 
1980 XXII
1980 Summer Olympics
The 1980 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Moscow in the Soviet Union. In addition, the yachting events were held in Tallinn, and some of the preliminary matches and the quarter-finals of the football tournament...

 
  Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 
XIII
1980 Winter Olympics
The 1980 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XIII Olympic Winter Games, was a multi-sport event which was celebrated from 13 February through 24 February 1980 in Lake Placid, New York, United States of America. This was the second time the Upstate New York village hosted the Games, after 1932...

 
  Lake Placid
Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid is a village in the Adirondack Mountains in Essex County, New York, United States. As of the 2000 census, the village had a population of 2,638....

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 
1984 XXIII
1984 Summer Olympics
The 1984 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Los Angeles, California, United States in 1984...

 
  Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 
XIV
1984 Winter Olympics
The 1984 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XIV Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated from 8–19 February 1984 in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Other candidate cities were Sapporo, Japan; and Gothenburg, Sweden...

 
  Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

, Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

 
1988 XXIV
1988 Summer Olympics
The 1988 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, were an all international multi-sport events celebrated from September 17 to October 2, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. They were the second summer Olympic Games to be held in Asia and the first since the 1964 Summer Olympics...

 
  Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 
XV
1988 Winter Olympics
The 1988 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XV Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event celebrated in and around Calgary, Alberta, Canada from 13 to 28 February 1988. The host was selected in 1981 after having beat Falun, Sweden and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy...

 
  Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 
1992 XXV
1992 Summer Olympics
The 1992 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event celebrated in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, in 1992. The International Olympic Committee voted in 1986 to separate the Summer and Winter Games, which had been held in the same...

 
  Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 
XVI
1992 Winter Olympics
The 1992 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVI Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 8 to 23 February 1992 in Albertville, France. They were the last Winter Olympics to be held the same year as the Summer Olympics, and the first where the Winter Paralympics...

 
  Albertville
Albertville
Albertville is a commune in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.The town is best known for hosting the 1992 Winter Olympics.-Geography:...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 
1994 XVII
1994 Winter Olympics
The 1994 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 12 to 27 February 1994 in and around Lillehammer, Norway. Lillehammer failed to win the bid for the 1992 event. Lillehammer was awarded the games in 1988, after having beat...

 
  Lillehammer
Lillehammer
is a town and municipality in Oppland county, Norway, globally known for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics. It is part of the traditional region of Gudbrandsdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Lillehammer. As of May 2011, the population of the town of Lillehammer was...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 
1996 XXVI
1996 Summer Olympics
The 1996 Summer Olympics of Atlanta, officially known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and unofficially known as the Centennial Olympics, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States....

 
  Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 
1998 XVIII
1998 Winter Olympics
The 1998 Winter Olympics, officially the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 7 to 22 February 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Seventy-two nations and 2,176 participans contested in seven sports and 72 events at 15 venues. The games saw the introduction of Women's ice...

 
  Nagano, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 
2000 XXVII
2000 Summer Olympics
The Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games or the Millennium Games/Games of the New Millennium, officially known as the Games of the XXVII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated between 15 September and 1 October 2000 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

 
  Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 
2002 XIX
2002 Winter Olympics
The 2002 Winter Olympics, officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event that was celebrated in February 2002 in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Approximately 2,400 athletes from 77 nations participated in 78 events in fifteen disciplines, held throughout...

 
  Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utah. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. With a population of 186,440 as of the 2010 Census, the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1,124,197...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 
2004 XXVIII
2004 Summer Olympics
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 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

 
  Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 
2006 XX
2006 Winter Olympics
The 2006 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XX Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in Turin, Italy from February 10, 2006, through February 26, 2006. This marked the second time Italy hosted the Olympic Winter Games, the first being the VII Olympic Winter...

 
  Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 
2008 XXIX
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

 
  Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

Equestrian
Equestrianism
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

 events were held in China's Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

. Although Hong Kong has an independent National Olympic Committee
National Olympic Committee
National Olympic Committees are the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, they are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games...

 from China, the equestrian competition was an integral part of the Beijing Games; it was not conducted under a separate bid, flame, etc., as was the 1956 Stockholm equestrian competition. The IOC website lists only Beijing as the host city.
2010 XXI
2010 Winter Olympics
The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, were a major international multi-sport event held from February 12–28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with some events held in the suburbs of Richmond, West Vancouver and the University...

 
  Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 
I (Summer)
2010 Summer Youth Olympics
The 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, officially known as the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games , were an international multi-sport event for youths that took place in the city-state of Singapore from 14 to 26 August 2010, in the XXIX Olympiad. They were the inaugural Summer Youth Olympics, a major...

 
 Singapore
2012 XXX
2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the "London 2012 Olympic Games", are scheduled to take place in London, England, United Kingdom from 27 July to 12 August 2012...

 
  London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Great Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 
I (Winter)
2012 Winter Youth Olympics
The 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, officially known as the I Winter Youth Olympic Games , will be an international multi-sport event for youths that will take place in Innsbruck from 13 to 22 January 2012. They will become the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics, a major sports and cultural festival...

 
  Innsbruck
Innsbruck
- Main sights :- Buildings :*Golden Roof*Kaiserliche Hofburg *Hofkirche with the cenotaph of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor*Altes Landhaus...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

2014 XXII
2014 Winter Olympics
The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially the XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event scheduled to be celebrated from 7 to 23 February 2014, in Sochi, Russia with some events held in the resort town of Krasnaya Polyana. Both the Olympic and...

 
  Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 
II (Summer)
2014 Summer Youth Olympics
The 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games is the second of the Summer Youth Olympics, a major international sports and cultural festival to be celebrated in the tradition of the Summer Olympic Games from 16 to 28 August 2014, during the XXX Olympiad...

 
  Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

, China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

2016 XXXI
2016 Summer Olympics
The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, are a major international multi-sport event to be celebrated in the tradition of the Olympic Games, as governed by the International Olympic Committee...

 
  Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 
II (Winter)
2016 Winter Youth Olympics
The 2016 Winter Youth Olympics is a major international sports and cultural festival to be celebrated in the tradition of the Youth Olympic Games in the Winter of 2016 during the XXXI Olympiad....

 
To be determined
2018 XXIII
2018 Winter Olympics
The 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, is a winter multi-sport event scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, between 9 and 25 February 2018. The elected host city was announced on 6 July 2011 by the International Olympic Committee , after the...

 
  Pyeongchang, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 
III (Summer)
2018 Summer Youth Olympics
The 2018 Summer Youth Olympics will be the third Summer Youth Olympic Games, a major international multi-sport event and cultural festival to be celebrated in the tradition of the Olympic Games, in 2018 during the XXXI Olympiad. It will be the fifth Youth Olympic Games overall, with the Winter...

 
To be determined
2020 XXXII
2020 Summer Olympics
The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, will be a major international sports and cultural festival, celebrated in the tradition of the Olympic Games....

 
To be determined III (Winter)  To be determined
2022 XXIV
2022 Winter Olympics
The XXIV Olympic Winter Games, or the 2022 Winter Olympics, is an event to be organized by the International Olympic Committee. The winning bid will be announced in 2015 at the 127th IOC Session.- Asia : Kazakhstan- Europe : Spain...

 
To be determined IV (Summer)  To be determined


Notes

See also


  • Art competitions at the Olympic Games
    Art competitions at the Olympic Games
    Art competitions formed part of the modern Olympic Games during its early years, from 1912 to 1952. The competitions were part of the original intention of the Olympic Movement's founder, Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin...

  • Olympic Cup
    Olympic Cup
    The Olympic Cup is an award given annually by the International Olympic Committee.It was instituted by Pierre de Coubertin in 1906 and is awarded to an institution or association with a record of merit and integrity in actively developing the Olympic Movement.Its recipients have included amateur...

     and Olympic Order
    Olympic Order
    The Olympic Order is the highest award of the Olympic Movement, created by the International Olympic Committee in May 1975 as a successor to the Olympic Certificate previously awarded. The Olympic Order originally had three grades , although the bronze grade was retired in 1984...

  • Olympic Day Run
    Olympic Day Run
    Olympic Day Run is an international Olympic Movement activity promoting mass participation of sports held in June organized by National Olympic Committees ....

  • Pierre de Coubertin medal
    Pierre de Coubertin medal
    The Pierre de Coubertin medal is a special medal given by the International Olympic Committee to those athletes who demonstrate the spirit of sportsmanship in Olympic events.The medal was inaugurated in 1964 and named in honour of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic...

  • Special Olympics
    Special Olympics
    Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 3.1 million athletes in 175 countries....

  • SportAccord
  • World Games
    World Games
    The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international multi-sport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games...


External links