With a few exceptions (during World War I and World War II), these games have brought people together across boundaries and throughout the world. Each of these Olympic Games' athletes has faced adversity and difficulty. Some triumphed over poverty, while others triumphed over illness and injury. All of them overcame their differences to compete as one team under one flag.
The modern Olympic Games consist of two weeks of competition, usually held in the late summer or early fall. Events are divided into gender-specific categories based on weight class for track and field events, and by age group for all other events. The number of events available varies from sport to sport, but typically ranges from 100 to 1,000. Teams can include up to 1,914 athletes in 92 countries, with the exception of South Africa, which was excluded after the end of apartheid in 1994.
These games were first held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. No other city has hosted more than three consecutive Olympiads. London won approval from the International Olympic Committee to host the 2012 Summer Games back in January 2005. These games will be the second time that Britain has staged the event; the first being 1948. Montreal has also bid for the right to host the next games in 2006, but they did not advance beyond the preliminary stage. Berlin had bid for the 1936 games but they were awarded to Germany instead.
With over 200 nations competing, the Olympic Games are regarded as the world's premier sporting event. The Olympic Games are generally held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Olympics alternated every two years. The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896.
They are usually held between August 5 and 21, but they can be held at any time between January 7 and 19. The only other dates that have been used for the Olympics are 1816 (during the War of 1812), 1848 (in London), 1900 (in Paris) and 1924 (in Amsterdam). The 1932 Olympics in Nazi Germany were not held because of political tensions following Hitler's rise to power. The 1936 Olympics in Berlin were not held either, but instead replaced by the German National Sports Festival which was limited to athletics, boxing, cycling, field hockey, football, gymnastics, ice skating, rowing, wrestling and sailing.
The only country to have never won an Olympic gold medal is Ethiopia. Neither Africa nor Asia has ever had a winner either, but both regions are divided into many independent countries, so it is difficult to say whether this will change in the future.
The United States is by far the most successful nation at the Olympics, having won more than 300 medals including 23 gold medals.
The Olympic Games take place every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games occurring every four years but two years apart. The simplest response is that the Paralympics are the Olympics for athletes who are crippled or handicapped. The Olympics are arranged for regular players. In contrast, parathletes include individuals who are blind, deaf, or have physical disabilities. These athletes compete in a separate event during the Games.
The first Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960. There are now two annual events, one for wheelchair athletes and another for visually impaired athletes. The number of medals awarded has increased over time; in 2004, about 150 medals were awarded. This amount is expected to rise when the Paralympics open for participation this year.
In 2000, Senator John McCain proposed moving the Paralympics to coincide with the Olympics. He argued that this would increase the visibility of disability sports and help generate revenue for disabled people's organizations. However, this proposal did not come to pass.
The World Games last more than a week and involve thousands of athletes. The tales and accomplishments of children and adults with intellectual impairments are shared with millions of people across the world through media coverage of the Games. The Special Olympics program has its roots in the International Olympics Committee's decision to include an intellectual disability category in Olympic competition.
Since then, The Special Olympics have grown into a global organization that uses sport as a catalyst for social change, providing opportunities for learning and development for individuals with intellectual disabilities. There are more than 4 million students and members of their families participating in Special Olympics programs worldwide.
In 2014, more than 11,000 athletes from around the world will compete in 14 sports at two international games: the Summer World Games and the Winter World Games. The Special Olympics World Games are part of a six-year cycle that begins with the Summer Games and ends with the Winter Games. The next World Games will be held in Asia in 2018.
Each country is responsible for selecting its own national teams for participation in the Games. However, some countries may choose to send a single athlete or team instead.
All participants receive a gold medal and prize money when they win a game. They also enjoy a full range of other benefits, including health care, training, coaching, and mentoring.
To honor the historical beginnings of the Olympic Games, which were held every four years at Olympia, the Olympic Games are staged every four years. The four-year gap between Ancient Games editions was dubbed a "Olympiad," and it was used to date events. These dates were then repeated in subsequent centuries until 1894, when Otto Flierl of Austria created a new system of classification for events that better matched their actual duration. This system is still used today.
The modern Olympic Games were founded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in Athens, Greece, on 5 October 1896. He wanted to revive the ancient games that were once held in Greece and believed that they should be available to athletes of all nations rather than just those who could pay to compete. The first modern Olympic Games included only two sports: athletics and wrestling. Today, the Olympics include many different types of events, including swimming, gymnastics, tennis, field hockey, and more. The most popular sports at the Olympics are football (soccer), basketball, and baseball/softball. In addition, there is a Paralympics edition of the games for disabled athletes.
Both the Summer and Winter Games last three days each. On the first day of competition, there are preliminaries for individual events and elimination rounds for team events. The final day consists exclusively of finals for both individual events and team events.