Olympic Games General Knowledge

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Modern Olympic Games are probably the biggest international sporting event in which thousands of athletes from around the globe participate. More than 200 countries participate in Olympic Games which are held every four years. Modern Olympics are the fruit of inspiration got from ancient Olympic Games, which were held from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD in Olympia, Greece.

Demetrius Vikelas
Baron de Coubertin
Sigfrid Edström
Avery BrundagE
Lord Killanin
Jacques Rogge
Thomas Bach
United States
United Kingdom

Ancient Olympic Games

Ancient Olympic Games were religious in nature. These were held once in every four years. Participation in the Games was done by various City-states of Ancient Greece. Mainly athletic game events were organized including some combat sports. The origin of the Olympics is mysterious and not clear at all. According to one of the most popular myths, it was Heracles who first called the Games “Olympic”. The accepted inception date for the Ancient Olympics is 776 BC. It is said that Coroebus was the first Olympic champion. Ancient Olympic touched the heights of it’s popularity in 6th and 5th centuries BC, but later gradually declined in importance. The reason behind this was the rise of Romans when they gained power in Ancient Greece. It is said that Games ended in 393 AD by Theodosius I.

Modern Olympic Games


In 17th century, various athletic events are described as the term “Olympic”. Events were organized with the name of Cotswold Olimpick Games by a lawyer Robert Dover.

‘L’Olympiade de la République’ was also a national Olympic festival held annually from 1796 to 1798 in France. In 1796 Games first time the metric system was implemented into sports.

In 19th century, William Penny Brookes brought Wenlock Olympian Games in 1859 and founded Wenlock Olympian Society on 15 November 1860.

Between 1862 and 1867, John Hulley and Charles Melly brought an annual Grand Olympic Games Festival in Liverpool, first to be wholly amateur and international in outlook.


Greek interest in reviving the Olympic Games began in 1821 with the Greek War of Independence. Evangelos Zappas first wrote to King Otto, in 1856, offering to fund and start the Olympic Games. Zappas sponsored the first Modern Olympic Games in 1859, which were held at Athens, Greece.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin presented various ideas during the first Olympic Congress of the newly created International Olympic Committee in June 1894 at University of Paris. That meeting final that the first Modern Olympic Games would held under the umbrella of IOC in Athens in 1896. I.O.C. headquarters at Lausanne, Switzerland.

List of Sports / Games

Basque pelota
Canoeing and kayaking
Sport climbing
Hockey (field)
Jeu de paume
Modern pentathlon
Rhythmic gymnastics
Rugby union
Rugby sevens
Synchronized Swimming
Table tennis
Tug of war
Water motorsports
Water Polo

Changes and Adaptations

For being the first time in 1900 (Paris Games) women took part in Olympics, however, those games did not have a stadium.

Summer Games

Below in the table, you can find basic statistics of Summer Olympic Games or popularly known just as Olympic Games.

S. No.YearHostNationsAthletesSportsToper
1st1896Athens, Greece142419United States
2nd1900Paris, France2499719France
3rd1904St. Louis, United States1265116United States
4th1908London, United Kingdom22200822Great Britain
5th1912Stockholm, Sweden28240714United States
6th1916BerlinCancelled due to First World War
7th1920Antwerp, Belgium29262622United States
8th1924Paris, France44308917United States
9th1928Amsterdam, Netherlands46288314United States
10th1932Los Angeles, United States37133214United States
11th1936Berlin, Germany49396319Germany
12th1940Tokyo / HelsinkiCancelled due to Second World War
13th1944LondonCancelled due to Second World War
14th1948London, United Kingdom59410417United States
15th1952Helsinki, Finland69495517United States
16th1956Melbourne, Australia72331417Soviet Union
17th1960Rome, Italy83533817Soviet Union
18th1964Tokyo, Japan93515119United States
19th1968Mexico City, Mexico112551618United States
20th1972Munich, West Germany121713421Soviet Union
21st1976Montreal, Canada92608421Soviet Union
22nd1980Moscow, Soviet Union80517921Soviet Union
23rd1984Los Angeles, United States140682921United States
24th1988Seoul, South Korea159839123Soviet Union
25th1992Barcelona, Spain169935625Unified Team
26th1996Atlanta, United States1971031826United States
27th2000Sydney, Australia1991065128United States
28th2004Athens, Greece2011062528United States
29th2008Beijing, China2041094228China
30th2012London, United Kingdom2041076826United States
31st2016Rio de Janeiro, Brazil2071130328United States

Winter Games

Winter Olympics were introduced to add snow and ice sports. Winter Games were celebrated every four years on the same year as their summer counterpart. After 1992 Games, the Winter Olympics were held two years after each Summer Olympics. Below in the table, you can find basic statistics of Winter Olympic Games.

S. No.YearHostNationsAthletesSportsTopper
1st1924Chamonix, France162586Norway
2nd1928St. Moritz, Switzerland254644Norway
3rd1932Lake Placid, United States172524United States
4th1936Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany286464Norway
1940Sapporo, JapanCancelled due to Second World War
1944Cortina d’Ampezzo, ItalyCancelled due to Second World War
5th1948St. Moritz, Switzerland286694Norway, Sweden
6th1952Oslo, Norway306944Norway
7th1956Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy328214Soviet Union
8th1960Squaw Valley, United States306654Soviet Union
9th1964Innsbruck, Austria3610916Soviet Union
10th1968Grenoble, France3711586Norway
11th1972Sapporo, Japan3510066Soviet Union
12th1976Innsbruck, Austria3711236Soviet Union
13th1980Lake Placid, United States3710726Soviet Union
14th1984Sarajevo, Yugoslavia4912726East Germany
15th1988Calgary, Canada5714236Soviet Union
16th1992Albertville, France6418016Germany
17th1994Lillehammer, Norway6717376Russia
18th1998Nagano, Japan7221767Germany
19th2002Salt Lake City, United States7823997Norway
20th2006Turin, Italy8025087Germany
21st2010Vancouver, Canada8225667Canada
22nd2014Sochi, Russia8828737Russia


In 1960 Olympics, Sir Ludwig Guttmann brought 400 athletes to compete in the “Parallel Olympics”, which became known as Paralympics. Since then, the Paralympics have been held in every Olympic year.

Youth Games

In 2010, Youth Games were added in Olympics. Athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 got the chance to compete. The Youth Olympic Games were conceived by Jacques Rogge in 2001 and approved during the 119th Congress of IOC. First Summer Youth Games were held in Singapore in 2001, while inaugural Winter Games were hosted in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2003. These Games are shorter than the senior Games. Summer version of Youth Games lasts for twelve days, while the winter version completes in nine days. 3,500 athletes and 875 officials can participate in Summer Youth Games. 970 athletes and 580 officials are allowed to take participate in Winter Youth Games.

Olympic Movement

The Olympic Movement encompasses a large number of sports organizations, media partners, as well as athletes, officials & judges etc. French and English are the official languages of Olympic Movement. The other language used at each Olympic Game is the language of host country. Every proclamation (such as announcements) is made in these languages. The Olympic Movement is made of three major elements:

  • International Federations, for example, International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) is the IF for association football. There are currently 35 IFs in the Olympic Movement, representing each of the Olympic sports.
  • National Olympic Committees, for example, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is the NOC of India. There are currently 205 NOCs recognised by the IOC.
  • Organising Committees for Olympic Games: OCOGs are dissolved after each Games once the final report is delivered to the IOC.

Olympic Symbols

The Olympic Flag

Olympic flag consists of five intertwined rings and represents the unity of five inhabited continents of Africa, Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. The colors of rings of flag were chosen because every nation had at least one of them on its national flag. The flag was adopted in 1914.

The Olympic Motto

The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius meaning that “Faster, Higher, Stronger” was proposed by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894 and has been official since 1924. The motto was coined by Coubertin’s friend, Henri Didon, for a Paris youth gathering of 1891.


Olympic Ideal

Following lines are the Olympic ideals. These are expressed in Olympic creed:

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.


Olympic Mascot

The Olympic Mascot is an animal or human figure representing the cultural heritage of the host country. It was introduced in Summer Olympics of 1968. Misha was first Olympic Mascot which reached to the international stardom.


Opening Ceremony

With hoisting the national flag of host nation, Opening Ceremony starts. The national anthem of host country is also played. Then some cultural programs from the host country are performed. Then nation-wise athletes’ parade starts. Greece is traditionally the first nation to enter in parade. This is done to give honor the origins of Olympics. Finally, the Olympic torch is brought into the stadium and often a successful Olympic athlete of host country, lights the Olympic flame.

Closing Ceremony

When all sporting events have concluded, Closing Ceremony takes place. Flag-bearers enter the stadium. Three national flags are hoisted while the corresponding national anthems are played. The flags are concern to current host; Greece, to honor the birthplace of the Olympic; and next host of Summer or Winter Olympic Games. Then presidents of the organizing committee and IOC gives their closing speeches and Games are officially closed. Then Olympic flame is extinguished.

Medal Presentation Ceremonies

After the successful conclusion of each Olympic event, medal ceremony is held. Winner, Runner-up and Third-placed competitors or teams stand on top of a three-tiered rostrum to get their respective medals. Gold medal goes to Winner, Silver medal goes to Runner-up and Third-placed athlete gets bronze medal. An IOC member awards the Medals and national flags of three medalists are raised. National anthem of gold medalist’s country also played.

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