We all have our own choices of sports and games. We tend to get divided with sports at times putting forward our views in more popular team games like football, cricket, basketball, rugby and field hockey. A large portion of the world population are attracted towards the game of football or popularly known as soccer in the Americas and we can see very less interest given towards individual sports like swimming, boxing , shooting, tennis track and field events in athletics, etc . But in reality individual sports are the ones along with the team games being played as a whole at the Olympics bring the people together for a nation. Regardless of whatever domestic sports league organized in their respective countries with investment of a lot of money and where people have their own likes and dislikes for a team or a player , people from various races of life root for their players when they play for the nation. The Olympics are considered as the epitome of all sports. The history of Olympics is such that players take pride and feel honored in representing his or her country at the Olympics where in the present time more the 200 countries participate across the globe.
The Olympics happens to take place after a gap of every four years. There are four forms of the games- the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics, the Paralympics and the Youth Olympics. They are being organized after every two years alternatively with the Paralympics in both during summer and winter games. Olympics originally started in Greece in the ancient times dating back to 8th century B.C. One of the popular myths identifies Olympics to have been started by Heracles and his father god Zeus. The ancient Olympics had seen neighboring states majorly from the kingdom of Rome competing against each other in events like athletics, combats and chariot racing. It was very heartening to see wars and struggles being postponed or cancelled on eve or during the Olympics.
Olympics have always had this great ability to unite people for the same cause.
The games were held in the city named Olympia after which this great sporting extravaganza came to be known as the Olympics.
The founding of the International Olympic Committee by Baron Pierre De Coubertin in 1894 marked the beginning of the Modern Olympics. With this, started the Olympic movement in the 20th and 21st century which led to various significant changes in the games like the introduction of winter- ice sports, games for the physically challenged people known as the Paralympics and the youth Olympics for the teenagers. The Olympics has had to face the political, economical forces over the years with advent of World War I and II. This led to the cancellation of the games in 1916, 1940 and 1944. Since then due to the always improving nature of the Human spirit the games hasn’t been cancelled. On average the record books says that about 13000 athletes compete both at the winter and summer Olympics across 33 different sports and 400 events. With the progress and development of the games corporate houses began investing in the sports and sponsorships were provided for individual players and teams. This eventually led to substantial improvement in various areas of the sports starting with the infrastructure, physical fitness level of players etc.
The most important event before the starting of the Olympics is the torch relay. It marks the opening of the Olympic celebration. The torch relay marks the opening of the Olympic celebration. The Olympic Flame from the ancient games was re-introduced during the 1928, Amsterdam Olympic Games. In the modern Olympic Games, Torch Relay was revived during the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Torch relay, however, originated way too before the 1936 Olympic Games. In ancient Greece, torch relay races begun as religious rituals at night. However soon it turned into a popular athletic sports event. In an altar dedicated to Goddess Hestia, sacred flames were always lit in Olympia. Every time prior to the Modern Olympic Games, the sacred flame is lit by the head priestess in Olympia, Athens and then is transferred to the torch of the first runner finally resulting in the journey of the Torch Relay beginning.
The modern Olympic flame (torch) is lit at the temple of Hera, wife of god Zeus in Greece and is passed through all the countries participating in the games and finally the relay ends in the opening ceremony of the host country. The choice of the athlete, who lights the flame in the Olympic Stadium, is enjoyed by the host nation. Usually a popular and great sportsperson enjoys the honor to light the flame in the cauldron of the stadium. The Olympic Torch today has become a great symbol of peace between the continents of the world. The 2nd most important thing is the Olympic flag which is white in color meaning peace and upholds five rings which stands for the five continents. The 2008 Beijing Olympics torch relay made the record for maximum travel. The Beijing Olympics torch was made specially keeping in mind the characteristics of the Chinese people. The torch embodied the concepts of Green Olympics, People’s Olympics and High-tech Olympics. Made of aluminum, the torch was 72 centimeters high and weighed about 984 grams.
There have been a lot of major highlights since the beginning of the modern Olympics .One of the most dramatic feats of the Olympics was the triumph of the United States track and field team in 1896. Competing as unofficial representatives, the ten-man squad reached Athens barely in time to participate. They won nine out of 12 events.
In 1912 Jim Thorpe, a Native American, became the only man to win both the decathlon and pentathlon in one year. Officials canceled his record and took back his medals when they learned that he had played professional baseball. His medals were restored posthumously in 1982. In track and field, Jesse Owens, a black American, won four gold medals including a team medal in 1936. The first woman to win three individual gold medals was Fanny Blankers-Koen of Netherlands. The first athletes to win the decathlon twice were Bob Mathias of the United States, in 1948 and 1952, and Daley Thompson of Great Britain, in 1980 and 1984. The first perfect 10.0 in Olympic gymnastics was scored by Nadia Comaneci of Romania, who received seven perfect scores and three gold medals in 1976.
In the 1964 Winter Games the Soviet speed skater Lidya Skoblikova was the first athlete to win four individual gold medals. Her feat was duplicated in the 1968 Summer Games by the Czech gymnast Vera Caslavska .In 1972, the United States swimmer Mark Spitz won a record seven gold medals at a single Olympics. Swimmers John Naber of the United States and Kornelia Ender of East Germany each won four gold medals in the Summer Games in 1976. The all-time individual medal winner was the American track athlete Ray C. Ewry, who won eight events in the 1900, 1904, and 1908 Games.
The 1972 Summer Games in Munich, West Germany, became a tragedy when Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Olympic team members from Israel. In a protest against a New Zealand rugby tour of South Africa about 30 African nations boycotted the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal, Que. To protest the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan more than 60 countries, led by the United States, withdrew from the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow. The Soviet Union, which first participated in 1952, withdrew from the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
Scandals rocked the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. Ten athletes were disqualified after drug tests revealed steroid abuse. Charges of bias and incompetence in the officiating at the boxing events led to two-year suspensions for five Korean boxers and officials and several other judges and referees. The 1992 games were unusual in that there were no more Soviet teams; the Soviet Union had split up in December 1991. The teams that participated from its former republics, sometimes still wearing the old Soviet uniforms, represented either now-independent Baltic states or the Commonwealth of Independent States, which had been formed from 11 of the former Soviet republics. Nevertheless, at the Winter Games in Albertville the Commonwealth’s United Team came in second, after Germany, in number of medals won.
In the 1896 Olympic Games there were fewer than 500 athletes representing 13 nations. In 1988 the Seoul games drew entries from a record total of 160 countries. While the number of athletes who competed in Los Angeles did not surpass the high of 10,000 set at Munich in 1972, the 1984 games set records for the largest total attendance–almost 5.8 million people–and the most gold medals for one country–83 for the United States.
The centennial Olympic Games opened in Atlanta, with more than 10,000 athletes from a record 197 nations in attendance. The opening ceremonies, which began 16 days of athletic competition, featured a tribute to the ancient Greek games and slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Former world heavyweight boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic torch, which completed a 84-day, 15,000-mile trek across the United States. The games featured 28 delegations that were participating for the first time, including athletes from the Czech Republic, FYROM, and Burundi, and Palestinians competing under the name Palestine. Tight security and Atlanta’s hot and humid August weather were major concerns for Olympic organizers and those attending the games. In spite of security precautions, a homemade pipe bomb loaded with nails and screws exploded at a late-night concert in Centennial Olympic Park, killing one person and wounding more than 100 others. In addition, a Turkish television cameraman died of a heart attack while running to film the blast. No one claimed responsibility for the attack. The Sydney Olympics of 2000 came to be known as the Olympics of the Millennium. The last Olympics of 2008 in Beijing, China saw Mark Spitz record of seven individual gold medals being broken buy American swimmer Michael Phelps. He now holds the record for the highest no of medals by any swimmer.
Amidst of all the controversies which people has seen the games dealing with over the years, people has always taken pride in the performances of the sportspersons , their commitment towards the respective sports and playing for their nation with honor . The 2012 Olympics is to be staged in the city of London, England and people across the globe are all excited with the prospect of watching news talents being unleashed and records in line to be broken.