Facts about the Olympics
The Olympics started on April 6, 1896
The Ancient Olympic Games were religious and athletic festivals held every four years at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, Greece. Competition was among representatives of several city-states and kingdoms of Ancient Greece. These Games featured mainly athletic but also combat sports such as wrestling and the pankration, horse and chariot racing events.
Changes and adaptations
Summer Olympic Games
After the success of the 1896 Games, the Olympics entered a period of trouble that threatened their survival. The Olympic Games held at the Paris Exposition in 1900 and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis in 1904 were side shows. The Games in Paris did not have a stadium, but were notable for being the first time women took part in the Games. When the St. Louis Games were celebrated roughly 650 athletes participated, but 580 were from the United States. The homogeneous nature of these celebrations was a low point for the Olympic Movement. The Games rebounded when the 1906 Intercalated Games (called that because they were the second Games held within the third Olympiad) were held in Athens. These Games were, but are not now, officially recognized by the IOC and no Intercalated Games have been held since. The Games 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 Olympic Games
The Winter Olympics was created to feature snow and ice sports that were logistically impossible to hold during the Summer Games. Figure skating (in 1908 and 1920) and ice hockey (in 1920) were featured as Olympic events at the Summer Olympics. The IOC desired to expand this list of sports to encompass other winter activities. At the 1921 Olympic Congress in Lausanne, it was decided to hold a winter version of the Olympic Games. A winter sports week (it was actually 11 days) was held in 1924 in Chamonix, France, in connection with the Paris Games held three months later; this event became the first Winter Olympic Games. Although it was intended that the same country host both the Winter and Summer Games in a given year, this idea was quickly abandoned. 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 in Albertville, France; after that, beginning with the 1994 Games, the Winter Olympics were held every four years, two years after each Summer Olympics.
In 2010, the Olympic Games were complemented by the Youth Games, which give athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 the chance to compete. The Youth Olympic Games were conceived by IOC president Jacques Rogge in 2001 and approved during the 119th Congress of the IOC. The first Summer Youth Games were held in Singapore from 14–26 August 2010, while the inaugural Winter Games were hosted in Innsbruck, Austria, two years later. These Games will be shorter than the senior Games; the summer version will last twelve days, while the winter version will last nine days. The IOC allows 3,500 athletes and 875 officials to participate at the Summer Youth Games, and 970 athletes and 580 officials at the Winter Youth Games. 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.
The Olympic flag
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 (Africa, America, Asia, Oceania, Europe). The colored version of the rings—blue, yellow, black, green, and red—over a white field forms the Olympic flag. These color's 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 in Antwerp, Belgium. It has since been hoisted during each celebration of the Games.
1964 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo
In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, determined to promote the rehabitation of soldiers after World War II, organised a multi-sport event between several hospitals to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics. Guttmann's event, known then as the Stoke Mandeville Games, became an annual sports festival. Over the next twelve years, Guttmann and others continued their efforts to use sports as an avenue to healing. For the 1960 Olympic Games, in Rome, Guttmann brought 400 athletes to compete in the "Parallel Olympics", which became known as the first Paralympics. Since then, the Paralympics have been held in every Olympic year. Since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, the host city for the Olympics has also played host to the Paralympics. In 2001 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) signed an agreement guaranteeing that host cities would be contracted to manage both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The agreement came into effect at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, and the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Chairman of the London organising committee, Lord Coe, said about the 2012 Summer Paralympics and Olympics in London that,
"We want to change public attitudes towards disability, celebrate the excellence of Paralympic sport and to enshrine from the very outset that the two Games are an integrated whole."
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 organising committees to negotiate their own sponsorship contracts and use the Olympic symbols. When Brundage retired the IOC had $2 million in assets, eight years later the IOC coffers had swelled to $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 became a watershed moment in Olympic history. The Los Angeles-based organising committee, led by Peter Ueberroth, was able to generate a surplus of $225 million, which was an unprecedented amount at that time. The organising 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 Programme in 1985, in order to create an Olympic brand. Membership in TOP was, and is, very exclusive and expensive. Fees cost $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.
Popularity of sports
The sport with the most articles published is by a long way Track and Field, with swimming second and soccer third. See more. Topend Sports Poll shows that the leading sport voted as the favorite Summer Olympics sport for Rio 2016 is gymnastics followed by track & field and swimming, the same as voted in 2012.
Some track and field records
Nation Games Date Ref(s)
100 metres 9.63 Usain Bolt
Jamaica (JAM) 2012 London August 5, 2012 
200 metres 19.30 Usain Bolt
Jamaica (JAM) 2008 Beijing August 20, 2008 
400 metres ♦43.03 Wayde van Niekerk
South Africa (RSA) 2016 Rio de Janeiro August 14, 2016 
800 metres ♦1:40.91 David Rudisha
Kenya (KEN) 2012 London August 9, 2012 
1,500 metres 3:32.07 Noah Ngeny
Kenya (KEN) 2000 Sydney September 29, 2000 
5,000 metres 12:57.82 Kenenisa Bekele
Ethiopia (ETH) 2008 Beijing August 23, 2008 
10,000 metres 27:01.17 Kenenisa Bekele
Ethiopia (ETH) 2008 Beijing August 17, 2008 
Marathon 2:06:32 Samuel Wanjiru
Kenya (KEN) 2008 Beijing August 24, 2008 
110 metres hurdles 12.91 Liu Xiang
China (CHN) 2004 Athens August 27, 2004 
400 metres hurdles ♦46.78 Kevin Young
United States (USA) 1992 Barcelona August 6, 1992 
3,000 m steeplechase 8:03.28 Conseslus Kipruto
Kenya (KEN) 2016 Rio de Janeiro August 17, 2016 
4×100 m relay ♦36.84 Nesta Carter
Jamaica (JAM) 2012 London August 11, 2012 
4×400 m relay 2:55.39 LaShawn Merritt
United States (USA) 2008 Beijing August 23, 2008 
20 km walk 1:18:46 Chen Ding
China (CHN) 2012 London August 4, 2012 
50 km walk 3:36:53 Jared Tallent
Australia (AUS) 2012 London August 11, 2012 
High jump 2.39 m Charles Austin
United States (USA) 1996 Atlanta July 28, 1996 
Long jump 8.90 m Bob Beamon
United States (USA) 1968 Mexico City October 18, 1968 
Pole vault 6.03 m Thiago Braz da Silva
Brazil (BRA) 2016 Rio de Janeiro August 15, 2016 
Triple jump 18.09 m Kenny Harrison
United States (USA) 1996 Atlanta July 27, 1996 
Shot put 22.52 m Ryan Crouser
United States (USA) 2016 Rio de Janeiro August 18, 2016 
Discus throw 69.89 m Virgilijus Alekna
Lithuania (LTU) 2004 Athens August 23, 2004 
Hammer throw 84.80 m Sergey Litvinov
Soviet Union (URS) 1988 Seoul September 26, 1988 
Javelin throw 90.57 m Andreas Thorkildsen
Norway (NOR) 2008 Beijing August 23, 2008 
Decathlon 8893 pts Roman Šebrle
Czech Republic (CZE) 2004 Athens August 24, 2004 
United States (USA) 2016 Rio de Janeiro