What’s the Olympics?

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The Olympics are international sporting events promoting cooperation and athleticism, consisting of the Summer and Winter Games, held every four years since 1992. Originating in ancient Greece, the modern Olympics were revived in 1896 by Pierre de Coubertin. The Olympics symbolize peace and are apolitical, but have been affected by war and boycotts. The Olympic Movement includes the International Olympic Committee, International Federations, and National Olympic Committees. Competing athletes are highly regarded and winning a medal is an honor for both the individual and their nation.

The Olympics or Olympic Games are international sporting events that are meant to promote cooperation and friendship among the nations of the world while also celebrating athleticism. There are two main components to the Olympics: the Summer Games and the Winter Games. Both games last for several weeks, combining dozens of events, and are held every four years. Since 1992, they have been staggered so that the Olympic Games are held every two years. By convention, the host of the Olympics changes with each Olympics, theoretically allowing every nation to have a chance to host the event, although the host balance has historically been heavily skewed relative to the Northern Hemisphere.

The Olympic Games have very ancient origins. In ancient Greece, panhellenic games were held every four years in Olympia, which allowed athletes to demonstrate their skills, along with poets, artists and playwrights. The ancient Olympics also had a strong religious aspect, with participants performing sacrifices and religious services during the games. In 393 BC, the Roman Empire banned the Olympic Games and it was not seen again in recognizable form for over 2,000 years.

As early as the 1700s, several sports associations staged regional Olympics, and in the mid-1800s, Greece hosted an Olympiad that included competitors from Greece and the Ottoman Empire. In 1896, the Olympic Games experienced an official renaissance, through the efforts of Pierre Fredy, Baron de Coubertin, who instituted many of the conventions and infrastructure that survive the modern Olympics, including the motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius, meaning ” Faster, higher, stronger.” Baron Coubertin also created the Olympic logo, a stylized design of five rings.

The Olympic Games are meant to symbolize peace, although three games (1916, 1940 and 1944) were canceled due to war. They should also be apolitical, although this has not always been achieved; several Cold War nations boycotted each other during the Olympics, for example, and some nations staged strategic Olympic boycotts to protest various activities of other competing nations.

The organizations that work together to organize the Olympics are known as the Olympic Movement and include the International Olympic Committee, International Federations which set the standards for various sports, and the National Olympic Committees of competing nations. Athletes who compete in the Olympics are widely regarded as among the best in the world; just being able to compete is a great honor, and taking a medal is a credit to both the individual athlete and the nation he represents.

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