A judge has sworn an oath alongside an athlete at the Games' opening ceremony since 1972, and a coach has done so since 2012. Pierre de Coubertin wrote the original Olympic oath used in modern-day competitions. It has evolved throughout time to reflect the changing nature of sporting events. The current version was adopted in 2008.
What does the oath include? Traditionally, it includes a pledge to respect the rights of athletes, with references to freedom of expression and opinion. It also contains a promise not to act against the spirit of the games, which some have interpreted as a call to promote peace through sport.
Who can administer the oath? Any person who is not an athlete, coach, or official may do so. A judge, for example, would be appropriate for the highest court at the Olympics. An athlete could also administer the oath for another athlete.
How is the oath administered? At the beginning of each event, the president of the judging panel (or their designate) will ask all participants to stand up and identify themselves. Next, they will read out the entire oath from memory. Judges, athletes, and coaches should be seated when taking the oath.
Who can refuse to take the oath? Anyone can refuse to take the oath and remain on the ground until the end of the event.
For the first time, the oath expressly included doping in Sydney in 2000.
In 2004, following a series of positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs, the words "so help me God" were added to the end of the oath.
These prayers, which are said by all medal winners at the opening and closing ceremonies of the games, are used to invoke divine guidance for success during the competition.
Coubertin originally planned to include a prayer in each event but this was reduced to one overall ceremony invocation due to time constraints.
He also recommended that athletes abstain from drinking alcohol before competing. This is because alcohol can have adverse effects on an athlete's performance.
Coubertin was a devout Catholic who believed that sports should be done with morality and honor. He wanted the Olympics to provide a stage where this could be achieved without interference from commercial interests or political pressure.
It is this belief that leads him to ask athletes who swear an oath not to sabotage their own performances, even if it means losing gold medals.
The Olympic Oath, as adopted in 1920, was as follows: "We swear." In the name of all participants, I pledge to participate in these Olympic Games while respecting and adhering to the regulations that govern them, in the genuine spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams. "So help me God."
In 1936, the phrase "in the true spirit of sportsmanship" was added to the oath by vote of the participating nations.
In 1980, the words "for the glory of sport" were removed from the oath by vote of the participating nations.
In 1996, the words "and the honor of our teams" were added to the oath by vote of the participating nations.
Thus, today's version of the Olympic Oath is as follows: "We swear (or affirm) that we will respect and adhere to the rules of sport during our participation at these Olympic Games."
The use of "oath" or "affirmation" in this context is a legal requirement for participation in any Olympic event. Without this affirmation/oath, no participant would be permitted to compete.
Any person who has not made a religious declaration may choose to swear (or affirm) on a holy book, which would then be required during the opening ceremony of each Olympics.
Since then, the Olympic oath has been recited at every Olympic Games. It is one of the opening ceremony's protocol parts and is carried out by an athlete from the host country on behalf of all the athletes while holding a corner of the Olympic flag.
The athlete reads out the oath, which was originally written for the 1912 Olympics: "I swear by Apollo, Zeus, Ares, Hermes, and Pan, those who guide us, to carry out faithfully the tasks before me." The phrase "those who guide us" is replaced by "the greatest Olympian gods" in modern-day ceremonies.
The oath is not meant to be taken seriously; it is merely a form of entertainment used to start off the games. But it does serve as a reminder that today's athletes come from all over the world and compete as representatives of their countries. No matter what country they come from, everyone faces many of the same challenges when trying to improve their performance or stay healthy. The only real difference between them is how they perform under pressure during an event.
At this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, America's Eric Radford will take the oath. He is one of the best cyclists in the world and has won several races including the Tour de France en route to becoming one of his country's most famous athletes.
The athlete then swears, "We commit to participate in these Olympic Games while respecting and adhering by the regulations and in the spirit of fair play." We do this for the glory of sport, the honor of our teams, and respect for the Olympic Fundamental Principles.
The fundamental principles are: fairness; competition; accuracy; objectivity; health and safety; and privacy. The ancient Olympics were a religious celebration honoring Zeus. They began with a festival of meat-eating and blood-drinking that was supposed to make humans strong and brave. When these games stopped being about religion and became about sports, they were called "olympic" games. Today's Olympics are held every four years and include events from baseball to skiing to swimming to track and field. There are also artistic competitions such as painting, sculpture, and writing. The only thing an Olympian can't do is vote.
When you join a sports team, you pledge your allegiance to that team. You show this loyalty by wearing its colors during games and practices and promoting other people to join your team. This is why uni-sex teams are common at the college level - so new students can join existing teams without being excluded because they're new.
At the high school level, most sports have gender divisions so boys will never be forced to play against girls or vice versa.
During the opening ceremonies, an athlete from the host country takes the following oath on behalf of all competitors: "In the name of all competitors, I promise that we will participate in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, committing ourselves to a sport free of doping and...corruption.
The slogan "Start smart. Finish strong." is also used as an official motto for the Olympics.
It was developed by former US Olympian Kevin Myers, who also coined the phrases "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" and "Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up again". These quotes are often attributed to sports people, but there is no proof that they actually said them.
Myers believed that if athletes understood the nature of success and failure, they would be better prepared to deal with both outcomes. He also felt that it was important for athletes to maintain a positive attitude during difficult times in order to remain successful.
Myers' ideas have been widely adopted by sports organizations around the world. His quotations are printed on many items of apparel sold by the US Olympic Committee (USOC). These include T-shirts, hats, posters and bumper stickers. In 2000, the USOC began printing "Start Smart. Finish Strong." on its training bags to encourage new athletes to make good decisions while they are competing.