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. Year Host Nations Athletes Sports Toper
1st 1896 Athens, Greece 14 241 9 United States
2nd 1900 Paris, France 24 997 19 France
3rd 1904 St. Louis, United States 12 651 16 United States
4th 1908 London, United Kingdom 22 2008 22 Great Britain
5th 1912 Stockholm, Sweden 28 2407 14 United States
6th 1916 Berlin Cancelled due to First World War
7th 1920 Antwerp, Belgium 29 2626 22 United States
8th 1924 Paris, France 44 3089 17 United States
9th 1928 Amsterdam, Netherlands 46 2883 14 United States
10th 1932 Los Angeles, United States 37 1332 14 United States
11th 1936 Berlin, Germany 49 3963 19 Germany
12th 1940 Tokyo / Helsinki Cancelled due to Second World War
13th 1944 London Cancelled due to Second World War
14th 1948 London, United Kingdom 59 4104 17 United States
15th 1952 Helsinki, Finland 69 4955 17 United States
16th 1956 Melbourne, Australia 72 3314 17 Soviet Union
17th 1960 Rome, Italy 83 5338 17 Soviet Union
18th 1964 Tokyo, Japan 93 5151 19 United States
19th 1968 Mexico City, Mexico 112 5516 18 United States
20th 1972 Munich, West Germany 121 7134 21 Soviet Union
21st 1976 Montreal, Canada 92 6084 21 Soviet Union
22nd 1980 Moscow, Soviet Union 80 5179 21 Soviet Union
23rd 1984 Los Angeles, United States 140 6829 21 United States
24th 1988 Seoul, South Korea 159 8391 23 Soviet Union
25th 1992 Barcelona, Spain 169 9356 25 Unified Team
26th 1996 Atlanta, United States 197 10318 26 United States
27th 2000 Sydney, Australia 199 10651 28 United States
28th 2004 Athens, Greece 201 10625 28 United States
29th 2008 Beijing, China 204 10942 28 China
30th 2012 London, United Kingdom 204 10768 26 United States
31st 2016 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 207 11303 28 United 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. Year Host Nations Athletes Sports Topper
1st 1924 Chamonix, France 16 258 6 Norway
2nd 1928 St. Moritz, Switzerland 25 464 4 Norway
3rd 1932 Lake Placid, United States 17 252 4 United States
4th 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany 28 646 4 Norway
1940 Sapporo, Japan Cancelled due to Second World War
1944 Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy Cancelled due to Second World War
5th 1948 St. Moritz, Switzerland 28 669 4 Norway, Sweden
6th 1952 Oslo, Norway 30 694 4 Norway
7th 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy 32 821 4 Soviet Union
8th 1960 Squaw Valley, United States 30 665 4 Soviet Union
9th 1964 Innsbruck, Austria 36 1091 6 Soviet Union
10th 1968 Grenoble, France 37 1158 6 Norway
11th 1972 Sapporo, Japan 35 1006 6 Soviet Union
12th 1976 Innsbruck, Austria 37 1123 6 Soviet Union
13th 1980 Lake Placid, United States 37 1072 6 Soviet Union
14th 1984 Sarajevo, Yugoslavia 49 1272 6 East Germany
15th 1988 Calgary, Canada 57 1423 6 Soviet Union
16th 1992 Albertville, France 64 1801 6 Germany
17th 1994 Lillehammer, Norway 67 1737 6 Russia
18th 1998 Nagano, Japan 72 2176 7 Germany
19th 2002 Salt Lake City, United States 78 2399 7 Norway
20th 2006 Turin, Italy 80 2508 7 Germany
21st 2010 Vancouver, Canada 82 2566 7 Canada
22nd 2014 Sochi, Russia 88 2873 7 Russia


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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