Why is it called Olympics? This is an international sports festival which originated in the city of Olympia, an ancient city of Greece, situated in the West Peloponnese.
ANCIENT OLYMPICS: These games were held at Mount Olympus in Greece in honour of Zeus from 776 BCE and continued till 394 CE. Originally, these games lasted only five days and generally, began on the first new moon day after the summer solstice, around mid-July. There was a ceremony of a sacrifice of an animal, whose meat was traditionally offered as the prize to the winners. From 394 CE, these games started degenerating and by 580 CE they altogether vanished. They were banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius as Pagan manifestations. The statue of Zeus at Olympia was counted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
MODERN OLYMPICS: It was the French nobleman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who (nearly over 1500 years after the last ancient Olympics) revived these games in 1894. During a conference at Sorbonne, held on 23 June 1894 where 13 countries participated, a resolution was passed to revive these games and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was formed at Pairs with its headquarters at Mon Repos, Lausanne (Switzerland).
The IOC, originally, had a membership of only 15 in 1894, representing 12 nations. It has now a membership of about 171 nations. The modern series of the Olympic games started in 1896 at Athens and since then are held every four years.
Motto: ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’. These are Latin words, which mean ‘Swifter Higher and stronger’. They were composed in 1897 by Rev. Father Didon, a friend of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, and introduced in the 1920 games for the first time.
Emblem: The emblem is composed of five intertwined rings, each of a different colour, representing five continents of the world, placed at the centre of the Olympic flag.
Fact: It is wrong to say that each of the colours corresponds to a certain continent! In fact, when Pierre de Coubertin created in Rings in 1913, the five colours combined with the white background represented the colours of the flags of all nations at that time, without exception.
Flag: The Olympic flag is white in colour (originally made of cotton), 3m × 2m. The emblem placed in the middle is 206 cm × 60 cm. The flag was designed by Coubertin himself in 1913 and it was first hosted in 1920 at the Antwerp Games and the motto was then added to it.
Creed: ‘The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not to triumph but to struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.’
Oath: An athlete of the host country recites the following at the opening ceremony. ‘In the name of all competitors, I promise that we will take part in these Olympic Games respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship for the glory of sport and the honour of our terms.
Both the oath and the creed were composed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of modern Olympics.
OLYMPIC TORCH: The Olympic flame symbolises the continuity between the ancient and the modern Olympics. The Olympic flame was lighted for the first time in 1928 at the Amsterdam stadium and since then the practice has continued. The torch used to kindle the flame is first lit by the sun’s rays at the shrine of Zeus (Greece). It is then carried overland by a relay of runners to the site of the games and placed in the bowl where it burns during the period of the Games.
THE OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY: The practice of Torch Relay from Olympia (Greece) to the venue of the Games was first introduced by German Olympic Committee for the Berlin Games in a 1936 and has since become part of Olympic games.
THE OLYMPIC MASCOT: It was introduced in 1972 at the 20th Olympics Games held in Munich and since then an Olympic Mascot is selected for a particular year and venue.
First Modern Olympic Held in 1896-Athens (Greece)
Recently Held Olympic –2016-Rio De Janerio (Brazil)