More than 1,500 years after the ancient Greek Olympic Games came to an end, the Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin had a dream to bring the Games back to life. At a conference on international sport, held in Paris in 1884, Coubertin put forward a resolution to revive the Games. His idea was enthusiastically received and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded with Coubertin among its members.
Just two years later, in Athens in April 1896 the king of Greece declared open the first Olympic Games of the modern era. Over the next 100 years the Olympics gradually grew into the fabulous sporting occasion we know today.
The Olympic rings is a true international emblem.
- What do the Olympic rings signify?
On a visit to Delphi,site of the ancient Pythian Games, Pierre de Coubertin saw the emblem of five linked rings on an ancient altar. It gave him the idea for the design on the Olympic Flag.
The five intertwined rings represent the five major regions of the world: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Every national flag in the world includes at least one of the five colors, which are blue, yellow, black, green, and red.
- What is the Olympic Oath?
The Olympic Oath is one of the rituals of the Olympic Games. The Olympic oath is spoken by one athlete at the opening ceremony of every Olympic games. It reminds us of the Olympic tradition that competition must be fair and friendly and that king part is more important than winning.
"In the name of all competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."
- Which countries have competed at all the modern Olympic Games?
- There are only five countries that have attended all the Games since they began in Athens in 1896, they are : Australia, France, Great Britain, Greece and Switzerland.
- Which sports have featured at all the modern Olympic Games?
- Athletics, Cycling, Fencing, Gymnastics and Swimming are the only five sports that have been part of every modern summer Games.
- How young are competitors in the Olympic Games?
- Marjorie Gestring (USA), who became Olympic champion in springboard diving in 1936 at the age of 13 years and 9 months, is the youngest gold medalist in the summer games.
- The youngest winter, gold medalist is Kim Yoon-Mi of Korea who won the short-track speed skating in 1994 at the age of 13 years and 2 months.
- When did women first compete in the Olympic Games?
- Women first took part in the second modern Games in 1900. It has always been thought that Charlotte Cooper of Great Britain became the first female individual champion when she won the tennis singles. Golf and yachting were two other sports in which women competed in 1900.
- In what year the Olympics first shown on television?
- The 1936 Olympics were shown on screen throughout the city of Berlin and the 1948 London Olympics were broadcasted on home TV although few people in Britain owned a television set at that time. The 1960 Rome Olympic Games were the first to be broadcast globally on television.
- What is the Olympic torch relay?
- Torch relay is a symbol of international unity,the Olympic flame is taken by torch relay across national boarders from the ancient site of Olympia to the Olympic venue. Sometimes the Olympic torch goes by boat or plane. The flame is transferred from torch to torch. When it reaches the stadium, it is taken around the track and tehn used to ignite the main flame that burns throughout the games.
- What route does the torch relay follow?
The torch relay always starts at Olympia in Greece and travels to the city hosting the Olympics. The route is different for each games. During the 2004 Athens Games, the Olympic flame went to each five continents represented by the Olympic rings before it returns to Greece.
USA has won over 2,300 summer medals more than any other countries.
The oldest champion is Oscar Swahn from Sweden who won gold in shooting in 1912, when he was 64, eight years later,he won silver at the age of 72.
The oldest female Olympic champion is Quennie Newal from Great Britain who won gold in archery in 1908 at the age of 53.
In 1984, Nawal El Moutawakel won the 400m hurdles, becoming the first woman from an Islamic nation and the first Moroccan to win a gold medal.
Ethiopian Abede Bikila was born on the day of the 1932 Olympic marathon. Twenty-eight years later he won the Olympic marathon in Rome, running barefoot. In 1964, he won it again but this time he wore shoes and socks.