The Olympic Games were first held in honour of the Greek god, Zeus in 776 BC in the plain of the kingdom of Elis, nestled in a lush valley between the Alpheus River and Mount Kronion, 15 km from the Ionian sea. The oldest sanctuary of Greece was there, the altar of the Great Mother of Gods, Rhea (Earth).
Modern Olympic Games
It comprises five rings or circles, linked together to represent the sporting friendship of all people. The rings also symbolise the continents–Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America. Each ring is of a different colour, i.e., blue, yellow, black, green and red. The rings are meant to represent five continents viz., Africa (black), America(red), Asia(yellow), Australia(green) and Europe(blue).
The Olympic flag, created in 1913 at the suggestion of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was solemnly inaugurated in Paris in June 1914 but it was raised over an Olympic stadium for the first time at the Antwerp Games(Belgium) in 1920. There is also a second Olympic flag, which is used for the Winter Games. These flags are made of white silk and contain above mentioned five intertwined rings. From left to right the rings are blue, yellow, black, green, and red.
It was at the Amsterdam Games in 1928 that for the first time an Olympic flame was ceremonially lighted and burned in a giant torch at the entrance of the stadium. The modern version of the flame was adopted in 1936 at the Berlin Games. The Olympic flame symbolises the continuity between the ancient and modern games. The torch used to kindle the flame, is first lit by the sun’s ray at Olympia, Greece and then carried to the site of the Games by a relay of runners. Ships and planes are used when necessary. On July 15, 1976, space-age technology was used to transport the flame from one continent to another.
The Olympic motto is “Citius-Altius-Fortius”(faster, higher, stronger). Rev. Father Didon (1840-1900), headmaster of school near Paris and a great promoter of sports in the French Catholic colleges first used the motto and had it embroidered on the pennants of his school clubs. This succinct definition of the philosophy of sport appealed to father Didon’s friend, Baron Pierre de Coubertin who was responsible for the revival of the Olympic Games nearly 1,500 years after the last of the ancient Games. It was adopted at his suggestion at the International Congress for the “Study and Propagation of the Principles of Amateurism” on June 23, 1894, the same day on which the restoration of the Olympic Games and the creation of the International Olympic Committee were also decided.
Olympic Prizes, Medals and Certificates
While in ancient times the Olympic heroes received a crown of olive branches for their exploits, modern Olympic champions are rewarded with medals and certificates. The winning athlete now receives a Gold medal, the athlete in the second place is awarded a Silver medal and the third-placed athlete wins a Bronze medal. In addition, all athletes ranking from first to sixth receive a certificate. Each medal is 60 mm in diameter and 3 mm thick. The first and second place medals are made of 92.5% silver and the medal of the first winner is then plated with 6 grams of fine gold. Thus this medal is not full gold. The third-place medal is bronze.
- Olympic games were started in 776 B.C. on Mount Olympus in the honour of the Greek God ‘Zeus’.
- The modern Olympic games started in Athens, the capital of Greece on 6th April 1896 with great efforts made by Pierre de Coubertin of France.
- The Olympic games are organised after every four years.
- In the flag of the Olympics, there is a symbol of five coloured circles joining each other.
- The flag of the Olympic Games was recognised in the year 1913 and was hoisted first time in the Antwerp Olympic Games in 1920.
- The tradition of lit the Olympic flame was started at the Amsterdam Olympic games in 1928.
- The Head Office of the International Olympic Committee is in Lausanne (Switzerland).
- Participation of women in the Olympic games started in the Second Olympic Games in 1900.
- First Indian Player who Participated in the Olympic Games was an Anglo Indian Norman Prichard, who took part in the Second Olympic Games in 1900 and won two Silver medals in Athletics.
- Marrie Lila Ro is 1st Indian woman to participate in the Olympic Games.
- International Olympic Committee was founded in 1894 at “Chakhon”.
- Generally, in the inaugural ceremony of Olympic games the team of Greece got first place and host team is placed in the last in March Past parade. The teams of other places are placed in the alphabetical order of English alphabets.
- The first women referee in the football was a Canadian lady Sonia Denancord in (Atlanta Olympics).
- The maximum no. of gold medal winner sports woman is Larina Lavyanina. She won 18 medals including 9 gold medals.
- The maximum gold medal winner sports woman is Christina Otty. She got 6 gold medals in swimming in Seoul Olympic of 1986.
- The maximum gold medal winner male player in an Olympic is Michael Phelps of USA. He won 8 gold medals in swimming in the Beijing Olympic 2008.
- India ranked 55th in the London Olympic in 2012, with a total of 6 medals (2 silver and 4 Bronze).
- London is the first city in the world to stage Olympic Games thrice, after the 1908 and 1948 Summer Olympics.
- The inaugural ceremony of the London Olympic 2012 also had an Indian flavour in the form of music composers Ilayaraja and A. R. Rahman.
- KD (khashaba Dadasaheb) Jadhav had won the country’s first medal in Wrestling in 1952 Olympics at Helsinki.
- American swimmer Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympian of all time with his record 28 Olympic Medals, out of which 6 each are from London and Rio Olympics.
- Michael Phelps also holds the all time records for Gold Medals (23). He has won 5 Gold and 1 Silver in Rio Olympics 2016.
- Jamaica was dominant on the track again in Rio; highlighted by the men’s 400m relay record. This record-breaking race marked the third time since 2008 that the Jamaican team had broken the record. Bolt also became an Olympic legend by repeating as champion in both the 100 metre and 200 metre sprints.
Journey of Olympics ( Since 1896)
|Olympics||Year||Date||Place||No. of Countries||No. of Players||Events||India’s Position|
|1st||1896||April 4 to 15||Athens(Greece)||13||311 (all males)||92||Not participated|
|2nd||1900||May 20 to October 28||Paris (France)||22||1330 (11 females)||60||2 Silver medals (Won by Norman Prichard- Athletics)|
|3rd||1904||July 1 to November 23||St. Louis (America)||12||625 (8 females)||67||Not participated|
|4th||1908||April 27 to October 31||London (Britain)||22||2035 (36 females)||104||Not participated|
|5th||1912||May 5 to July 22||Stockholm (Sweden)||28||2547 (57 females)||106||Not participated|
|6th||1916||Berlin (Germany)||Cancelled due to World War I|
|7th||1920||April 20 to Sept. 12||Antwerp (Germany)||29||2607 (64 females)||104||Did not win any medals|
|8th||1924||May 4 to July 27||Paris (France)||44||3092 (136 females)||126||Did not win any medals|
|9th||1928||May 17 to August 12||Amsterdam (Holland)||46||3014 (290 females)||109||1 Gold medals (in Hockey)|
|10th||1932||July 30 to August 14||Los Angels(USA)||37||1408 (127 females)||117||1 Gold medals (in Hockey)|
|11th||1936||August 1 to 16||Berlin (Germany)||49||4066 (328 females)||129||1 Gold medals (in Hockey)|
|12th||1940||Tokyo, later on Helsinki||Cancelled due to World War II|
|13th||1944||London (Britain)||Cancelled due to World War II|
|14th||1948||July 29 to August 14||London (Britain)||59||4099 (385 females )||136||1 Gold medals (in Hockey)|
|15th||1952||July 19 to August 13||Helsinki (Finland)||69||4925 (518 females)||149||1 Gold medals (in Hockey) and 1 Bronze medal (in Wrestling)|
|16th||1956||Nov. 22 to Dec. 8||Melbourne (Australia)||71||3342 (384 females)||145||1 Gold medals (in Hockey)|
|17th||1960||August 25 to Sept. 11||Rome (Italy)||83||5348 (61 females)||150||1 Silver medals (in Hockey)|
|18th||1964||October 10 to 24||Tokyo (Japan)||93||5140 (683 females)||163||1 Gold medals (Hockey)|
|19th||1968||October 12 to 27||Mexico City (Mexico)||112||5531 (781 females)||182||1 Bronze medals (in Hockey)|
|20th||1972||August 26 to Sept. 10||Munich (W. Germany)||122||7147 (1070 females)||195||1 Bronze medals (in Hockey)|
|21st||1976||July 17 to August 1||Montreal (Canada)||92||6152 (1261 females)||198||Did not win any medal, 7th position in Hockey|
|22nd||1980||July 19 to August 3||Moscow (Soviet Union)||81||5326 (1088 females)||203||1 Gold medals (in Hockey)|
|23th||1984||July 28 to August 12||Los Angels (USA)||140||7078 (1620 females)||221||Did not win any medal, 5th position in Hockey|
|24th||1988||Sept.17 to October 2||Seoul (S. korea)||159||8391||237||Did not win any medal, ranked 6th position in Hockey|
|25th||1992||July 25 to August 9||Barcelona (Spain)||169||9,356 (2704 females)||257||Did not win any medal|
|26th||1996||July 19 to August 4||Atlanta (U.S.A)||197||10,318 (3512 females)||271||Leander Paes won a Bronze medal (in Lawn Tennis)|
|27th||2000||Sept. 15 to Oct. 1||Sydney (Australia)||199||10,651 (4069 females)||300||Karnam Malleshwari won a Bronze medal in the Weight lifting (in the 69 kg category)|
|28th||2004||August 13 to August 29||Athens (Egypt)||201||10,625 (4329 females)||301||Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won a Silver medal (Shooting)|
|29th||2008||August 08 to 24||Beijing (China)||204||10,942 (4637 females)||302||Ranked 50th (with 1 Gold and 2 Bronze medals)|
|30st||2012||(July. 27-Aug.12)||London (U.K.)||204||10,568||302||55th (with 2 Silver and 4 Bronze medals)|
|31st||2016||(Aug. 05-Aug.12)||Rio de Janerio (Brazil)||207||11,238||306||67th (with 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medals)|
|32nd||2020||(July 23-Aug.08.2021)||Proposed: Tokyo (Japan)||(Due to COVID-19 pandemic dates of games shifted one year from 2020 to 2021|
|33th||2024||Proposed: Paris (France)|
|34th||2028||Proposed: Los Angels (U.S.A)|
1. Abhinav Bindra won gold in shooting (10m Air Rifle), Vijender Singh won Bronze (Boxing) and Sushil Kumar won Bronze in Wrestling (66 kg).
2. Silver medalists Sushil Kumar (Wrestling) and Vijay Kumar (Shooting), Bronze medalists M.C. Mary Kom (Boxing), Saina Nehwal (Badminton) and Gagan Narang (Shooting).
3. Silver medal P. V. Sindhu (Badminton); Bronze medal Sakshi Malik (Wrestling-58kg)