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PostSubject: The Olympic Games   25th June 2010, 6:37 am

The Olympic Games

The Olympic Games were a series of athletic competitions held for representatives of various city-states of Ancient Greece and held in honor of Zeus.
The exact origins of the Games are shrouded in myth and legend but records indicate that they began in 776 BC in Olympia Greece. They were celebrated until 393 AD when they were suppressed by Theodosius I as part of the campaign to impose Christianity as a state religion. The Games were usually held every four years, or Olympiad, as the unit of time came to be known. During a celebration of the Games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the Games in safety. The prizes for the victors were olive wreaths or crowns.
The Games became a political tool used by city-states to assert dominance over their rivals. Politicians would announce political alliances at the Games, and in times of war, priests would offer sacrifices to the gods for victory. The Games were also used to help spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean. The Olympics also featured religious celebrations and artistic competitions. A great statue of Zeus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world was erected in Olympia to preside over the Games. Sculptors and poets would congregate each Olympiad to display their works of art to would-be patrons.
The ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games. There were fewer events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete (although a woman, Bilistiche is also mentioned as a winner). As long as they met the entrance criteria, athletes from any country or city-state were allowed to participate. The Games were always held at Olympia rather than alternating to different locations as is the tradition with the modern Olympic Games. There is one major commonality between the ancient and modern Games, the victorious athletes are honored, feted, and praised. Their deeds were heralded and chronicled so that future generations could appreciate their accomplishments.

Origins and History
To the Greeks it was important to root the Olympic Games in mythology. During the time of the ancient Games their origins were attributed to the gods, and competing legends persisted as to who actually was responsible for the Games' genesis. These origin traditions and myths have become nearly impossible to untangle, yet a chronology and patterns have arisen that help people understand the story behind the Games. The earliest myths regarding the origin of the Games are recounted by the Greek historian, Pausanias. According to the story, the dactyl Herakles (not to be confused with the son of Zeus) and two of his brothers raced at Olympia. He crowned the victor with an olive wreath, which explains the traditional prize given to Olympic champions. The other Olympian gods (so named because they lived permanently on Mount Olympus), would also engage in wrestling, jumping and running contests. Another myth, this one occurring after the aforementioned myth, is attributed to Pindar. He claims the festival at Olympia involved Pelops, king of Olympia and eponymous hero of the Peloponnesus, and Herakles, the son of Zeus. The story goes that after completing his labors, Herakles established an athletic festival to honor his father. Pelops, using trickery, and the help of Poseidon, won a chariot race against a local king and claimed the king's daughter, Hippodamia as his prize. A final myth, also attributed to Pausanias is dated by the historian at 776 BC. For some reason the Games of previous millennia were discontinued and then revived by Lycurgus of Sparta, Iphitos of Elis, and Cleoisthenes of Pisa at the behest of the Oracle of Delphi who claimed that the people had strayed from the gods, which had caused a plague and constant war. Restoration of the Games would end the plague, usher in a time of peace, and signal a return to a more traditional lifestyle. The patterns that emerge from these myths are that the Greeks believed the Games had their roots in religion, that athletic competition was tied to worship of the gods, and the revival of the ancient Games was intended to bring peace, harmony and a return to the origins of Greek life. Since these myths were documented by historians like Pausanias, who lived during the reign of Marcus Aurelius in the 160's AD, it is likely that these stories are more fable than fact.
The games were one of the two central rituals in Ancient Greece, the other being the much older religious festival, the Eleusinian Mysteries.
The games started in Olympia, Greece, in a sanctuary site for the Greek deities near the towns of Elis and Pisa (both in Elis on the peninsula of Peloponnesos). The first Games began as an annual foot race of young women in competition for the position of the priestess for the goddess, Hera and a second race was instituted for a consort for the priestess who would participate in the religious traditions at the temple.
The Heraea Games, the first recorded competition for women in the Olympic Stadium, were held as early as the sixth century BC. It originally consisted of foot races only, as did the competition for males. Some texts, including Pausanias's Description of Greece, c. AD 175, state that Hippodameia gathered a group known as the "Sixteen Women" and made them administrators of the Heraea Games, out of gratitude for her marriage to Pelops. Other texts related to the Elis and Pisa conflict indicate that the "Sixteen Women" were peacemakers from Pisa and Elis and, because of their political competence, became administrators of the Heraea Games.
Being the consort of Hera in Classical Greek mythology, Zeus was the father of the deities in the pantheon of that era. The Sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia housed a 13-metre-high statue in ivory and gold of Zeus that had been sculpted by Phidias circa 445 BC. This statue was one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. By the time of the Classical Greek culture, in the fifth and fourth centuries BC, the games were restricted to male participants.
The historian Ephorus, who lived in the fourth century BC, is believed to have established the use of Olympiads to count years. The Olympic Games were held at four-year intervals, and later, the Greek method of counting the years even referred to these Games, using the term Olympiad for the period between two Games. Previously, every Greek state used its own dating system, something that continued for local events, which led to confusion when trying to determine dates. For example, Diodorus states that there was a solar eclipse in the third year of the 113th Olympiad, which must be the eclipse of 316 BC. This gives a date of (mid-summer) 786 BC for the first year of the first Olympiad. Nevertheless, there is disagreement among scholars as to when the Games began.
The only competition held then was, according to the later Greek traveller Pausanias who wrote in 175 A.D., the stadion race, a race over about 190 metres, measured after the feet of Hercules. The word stadium is derived from this foot race.
The Greek tradition of athletic nudity was introduced in 720 BC, either by the Spartans or by the Megarian Orsippus, and this was adopted early in the Olympics as well.
Several groups fought over control of the sanctuary at Olympia, and hence the Games, for prestige and political advantage. Pausanias later writes that in 668 BC, Pheidon of Argos was commissioned by the town of Pisa to capture the sanctuary from the town of Elis, which he did and then personally controlled the Games for that year. The next year, Elis regained control.
The Olympic Games were part of the Panhellenic Games, four separate games held at two- or four-year intervals, but arranged so that there was at least one set of games every year. The Olympic Games were more important and more prestigious than the Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian Games.
Finally, the Olympic Games were suppressed, either by Theodosius I in AD 393 or his grandson Theodosius II in AD 435, as part of the campaign to impose Christianity as a state religion. The site of Olympia remained until an earthquake destroyed it in the sixth century AD.

Culture
The ancient Olympics are said to have been as much a religious festival as an athletic event. The Games were held in honor of the Greek god Zeus. On the middle day of the Games 100 oxen would be sacrificed to Zeus. Over time Olympia, site of the Games, became a central spot for the worship of head of the Greek pantheon and a temple, built by the Greek architect Libon was erected on the mountaintop. The temple was one of the largest Doric temples in Greece. The sculptor Pheidias created a statue of the god made of gold and ivory. It stood 42 feet (13 m) tall. It was placed on a throne in the temple. The statue became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.As the historian Strabo put it,
"...the glory of the temple persisted...on account both of the festal assembly and of the Olympian Games, in which the prize was a crown and which were regarded as sacred, the greatest games in the world. The temple was adorned by its numerous offerings, which were dedicated there from all parts of Greece."

Artistic expression was a major part of the Games. Sculptors, poets and other artisens would come to the Games to display their works in what became an artistic competition. Sculptors created works like Myron's Diskobolos or Discus Thrower. Their aim was to highlight natural human movement and the shape of muscles and the body. Poets would be commissioned to write prose in honor of the Olympic victors. These poems, known as Epinicians, were passed on from generation to generation and many of them have lasted far longer than any other honor made for the same purpose. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, one of the founders of the modern Olympic Games, wanted to fully imitate the ancient Olympics in every way. Included in his vision was to feature an artistic competition modeled on the ancient Olympics and held every four years, during the celebration of the Olympic Games. His desire came to fruition at the Olympics held in London in 1908.

Politics of the times
Power in ancient Greece became centered around the city-state in the 8th century BC. The city-state was a population center that became organized into a self-contained political entity. These city-states often lived in close proximity to each other, which created competition for limited resources. Though conflict between the city-states was ubiquitous, it was also in their self-interest to engage in trade, military alliances and cultural interaction. The city-states had a dichotomous relationship with each other, on one hand they relied on their neighbors for political and military alliances, on the other they competed fiercely with those same neighbors for the resources necessary to sustain life. The Olympic Games were established in this political context. Representatives of the city-states would compete against each other at the Games.
In the first two centuries of the Games' existence Olympia had only regional religious importance. Greeks beyond the area immediately around the mountain did not compete in these early Games. This is evidenced by the dominance of Peloponnesian athletes in the victors' rolls. The spread of Greek colonies in the 5th and 6th century BC is repeatedly linked to successful Olympic athletes. For example, Pausanias recounts that Cyrene was founded c. 630 BC by settlers from Thera with Spartan support. The support Sparta gave was primarily the loan of three-time Olympic champion Chionis. The draw of settling with an Olympic champion helped to populate the colonies and maintain cultural and political ties with the city-states in proximity to Olympia. Thus Hellenistic culture and the Games spread while the primacy of Olympia persisted.
The Games faced a serious challenge during the Peloponnesian War, which primarily pitted Athens against Sparta, but in reality touched nearly every Hellenistic city-state.The Olympics were used during this time to announce alliances and offer sacrifices to the gods for victory.
During the Olympic Games, a truce, or ekecheiria was observed. Three runners, known as spondophoroi were sent from Elis to the participant cities at each set of games to announce the beginning of the truce. During this period, armies were forbidden from entering Olympia, wars were suspended, and legal disputes and the use of the death penalty were forbidden. The truce was primarily designed to allow athletes and visitors to travel safely to the Games and was, for the most part, observed. Thucydides wrote of a situation when the Spartans were forbidden from attending the Games, and the violators of the truce were fined 2,000 minae for assaulting the city of Lepreum during the period of the ekecheiria. The Spartans disputed the fine and claimed that the truce had not yet taken hold.
While a marshal truce was observed by all participating city-states, no such reprieve from conflict existed in the political arena. The Olympic Games evolved the most influential athletic and cultural stage in ancient Greece, and arguably in the ancient world. As such the Games became a vehicle for city-states to promote themselves. The result was political intrigue and controversy, Pausanias, a Greek historian, explained the situation of the athlete Sotades,
"Sotades at the ninety-ninth Festival was victorious in the long race and proclaimed a Cretan, as in fact he was. But at the next Festival he made himself an Ephesian, being bribed to do so by the Ephesian people. For this act he was banished by the Cretans."
This situation repeated itself at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In what is becoming a growing trend, many athletes are switching citizenships in order to compete at the Games. There are an equal number of countries willing to grant citizenship and monetary considerations to these athletes in exchange for their representation and the honor that comes with potential Olympic success. In this the Olympics have changed very little from their roots in antiquity.

The Competitive Events
Only free men who spoke Greek were allowed to participate in the Ancient Games of classical times. They were to some extent "international", though, in the sense that they included athletes from the various Greek city-states. Additionally, participants eventually came from Greek colonies as well, extending the range of the games to far shores of the Mediterranean and of the Black Sea.
To be in the Games, the athletes had to qualify and have their names written in the lists. It seems that only young people were allowed to participate, as the Greek writer Plutarch relates that one young man was rejected for seeming over mature, and only after his lover interceded with the King of Sparta, who presumably vouched for his youth, was he permitted to participate. Before being able to participate, every participant had to take an oath in front of the statue of Zeus, saying that he had been in training for ten months.
At first, the Olympic Games lasted only one day, but eventually grew to five days. The Olympic Games originally contained one event: the stadion (or "stade") race, a short sprint measuring between 180 and 240 metres, or the length of the stadium. The length of the race is uncertain, since tracks found at archeological sites, as well as literary evidence, provide conflicting measurements. Runners had to pass five stakes that divided the lanes: one stake at the start, another at the finish, and three stakes in between.
The diaulos, or two-stade race, was introduced in 724 BC, during the 14th Olympic games. The race was a single lap of the stadium, approximately 400 metres, and scholars debate whether or not the runners had individual "turning" posts for the return leg of the race, or whether all the runners approached a common post, turned, and then raced back to the starting line.
A third foot race, the dolichos, was introduced in 720 BC. Accounts of the race present conflicting evidence as to the length of the dolichos; however, the length of the race was 18-24 laps, or about three miles (5 km). The event was run similarly to modern marathons—the runners would begin and end their event in the stadium proper, but the race course would wind its way through the Olympic grounds. The course often would flank important shrines and statues in the sanctuary, passing by the Nike statue by the temple of Zeus before returning to the stadium.
The last running event added to the Olympic program was the hoplitodromos, or "Hoplite race", introduced in 520 BC and traditionally run as the last race of the Olympic Games. The runners would run either a single or double diaulos (approximately 400 or 800 yards) in full or partial armour, carrying a shield and additionally equipped either with greaves or a helmet. As the armour weighed between 50 and 60 lb (27 kg), the hoplitodromos emulated the speed and stamina needed for warfare. Due to the weight of the armour, it was easy for runners to drop their shields or trip over fallen competitors. In a vase painting depicting the event, some runners are shown leaping over fallen shields. The course they used for these runs were made out of clay, with sand over the clay.
Over the years, more events were added: boxing (pygme/pygmachia), wrestling (pale), a very bloody pankration (regulated full-contact fighting, similar to today's mixed martial arts), chariot racing, and several other running events (the diaulos, hippios, dolichos, and hoplitodromos), as well as a pentathlon, consisting of wrestling, stadion, long jump, javelin throw, and discus throw (the latter three were not separate events).
Boxing became increasingly brutal over the centuries. Initially, soft leather covered their fingers, but eventually, hard leather weighted with metal sometimes was used. The fights had no rest periods and no rules against hitting a man while he was down. Bouts continued until one man either surrendered or died- however, killing an opponent wasn't a good thing, as the dead boxer was automatically declared the winner.
In the chariot racing event, it was not the rider, but the owner of the chariot and team who was considered to be the competitor, so one owner could win more than one of the top spots. The addition of events meant the festival grew from one day to five days, three of which were used for competition. The other two days were dedicated to religious rituals. On the final day, there was a banquet for all the participants, consisting of 100 oxen that had been sacrificed to Zeus on the first day.
The winner of an Olympic event was awarded an olive branch and often was received with much honour throughout Greece, especially in his home town, where he was often granted large sums of money (in Athens, 500 drachma, a small fortune) and prizes including vats of olive oil. (See Milo of Croton.) Sculptors would create statues of Olympic victors, and poets would sing odes in their praise for money.
Archaeologists believe that wars were halted between the city-states of Greece so that the athletes as well as the spectators of the Olympics could get there safely. However, some archaeologists argue that the wars were not halted, but that the athletes who were in the army were allowed to leave and participate in the Olympics.
Participation in the classical games was limited to male athletes except for women who were allowed to take part by entering horses in the equestrian events. In 396 BC, and again in 392 BC, the horses of a Spartan princess named Cynisca won her the four-horse race. It is thought that single women (not betrothed or married) were allowed to watch the races. Also priestesses in the temple of Zeus who lit the candles were permitted.
The athletes usually competed naked, not only as the weather was appropriate, but also as the festival was meant to celebrate, in part, the achievements of the human body. Olive oil was occasionally used by the competitors, not only to keep skin smooth, but also to provide an appealing look for the participants.

Recent and Present Changes
The Olympic Games are now a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Games are currently held every two years in even-numbered years, with Summer and Winter Olympic Games alternating, although they occur every four years within their respective seasonal games.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin is credited with founding the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. The IOC has since become the governing body of the Olympic Movement, whose structure and actions are defined by the Olympic Charter.
The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th century forced the IOC to adapt the Games to the world's changing social circumstances. Some of these adjustments included the creation of the Winter Games for ice and snow sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with physical disabilities, and the Youth Olympic Games for teenage athletes. The IOC also had to accommodate the Games to the varying economical, political, and technological realities of the 20th century. As a result, the Olympics shifted away from pure amateurism, as envisioned by Coubertin, to allow participation of professional athletes. The growing importance of the mass media created the issue of corporate sponsorship and commercialization of the Games.
The Olympic Movement currently comprises international sports federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and organizing committees for each specific Olympic Games. As the decision-making body, the IOC is responsible for choosing the host city for each Olympic Games. The host city is responsible for organizing and funding a celebration of the Games consistent with the Olympic Charter. The Olympic program, consisting of the sports to be contested at each Olympic Games, is also determined by the IOC. The celebration of the Games encompasses many rituals and symbols, such as the Olympic flag and torch, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. There are over 13,000 athletes that compete at the Summer and Winter Olympics in 33 different sports and nearly 400 events. The first, second, and third place finishers in each event receive gold, silver or bronze Olympic medals, respectively.
The Games have grown in scale to the point that nearly every nation is represented. Such growth has created numerous challenges, including boycotts, doping, bribery of officials, and terrorism. Every two years, the Olympics and its media exposure provide unknown athletes with the chance to attain national, and in particular cases, international fame. The Games also constitute a major opportunity for the host city and country to promote and showcase themselves to the world.
The first significant attempt to emulate the ancient Olympic Games was the L'Olympiade de la République, a national Olympic festival held annually from 1796 to 1798 in Revolutionary France. The competition included several disciplines from the ancient Greek Olympics. The 1796 Games also marked the introduction of the metric system into sport.
In 1850 an Olympian Class, to improve the fitness of locals, was started by Dr William Penny Brookes at Much Wenlock, in Shropshire, England. In 1859, Dr Brookes renamed the Olympian Class to Wenlock Olympian Games and this annual games continues to this day. The Wenlock Olympian Society was founded by Dr Brookes on November 15, 1860.

Revival
Greek interest in reviving the Olympic Games began with the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821. It was first proposed by poet and newspaper editor Panagiotis Soutsos in his poem "Dialogue of the Dead", published in 1833. Evangelis Zappas, a wealthy Greek philanthropist, first wrote to King Otto of Greece, in 1856, offering to fund a permanent revival of the Olympic Games. Zappas sponsored the first Olympic Games in 1859, which was held in an Athens city square. Athletes participated from Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Zappas funded the restoration of the ancient Panathenaic stadium so that it could host all future Olympic Games.
Dr Brookes adopted events from the program of the Olympics held in Athens in 1859 in to future Wenlock Olympian Games. In 1866, a national Olympic Games in Great Britain was organized by Dr. William Penny Brookes at London's Crystal Palace.
The Panathinaiko Stadium hosted Olympics in 1870 and 1875. Thirty thousand spectators crowded in to and around the stadium in 1870 - bigger than almost any crowd at Coubertin's IOC Olympics from 1900 to 1920.
In 1890, after attending the Olympian Games of the Wenlock Olympian Society Baron Pierre de Coubertin was inspired to found the International Olympic Committee. Coubertin built on the ideas and work of Brookes and Zappas with the aim of establishing internationally rotating Olympic Games that would occur every four years. He presented these ideas during the first Olympic Congress of the newly created International Olympic Committee (IOC). This meeting was held from June 16 to June 23, 1894, at the Sorbonne University in Paris. On the last day of the Congress, it was decided that the first Olympic Games, to come under the auspices of the IOC, would take place two years later in Athens. The IOC elected the Greek writer Demetrius Vikelas as its first president.

1896 Games
The opening ceremony in the Panathinaiko Stadium
The first Games held under the auspices of the IOC was hosted in the Panathenaic stadium in Athens in 1896. These Games brought 14 nations and 241 athletes who competed in 43 events. Zappas and his cousin Konstantinos Zappas had left the Greek government a trust to fund future Olympic Games. This trust was used to help finance the 1896 Games. George Averoff contributed generously for the refurbishment of the stadium in preparation for the Games.The Greek government also provided funding, which was expected to be recouped through the future sale of tickets to the Games and from the sale of the first Olympic commemorative stamp set.
The Greek officials and public were enthusiastic about the experience of hosting these Games. This feeling was shared by many of the athletes, who even demanded that Athens be the host of the Olympic Games on a permanent basis. The IOC did not approve this request. The committee planned that the modern Olympics would rotate internationally. As such they decided to hold the second Games in Paris.

Changes and adaptations
Main article: Summer Olympic Games
Following the success of the 1896 Games, the Olympics entered a period of stagnation that threatened their survival. The Olympic Games held at the Paris Exposition in 1900 and the World's Fair at St. Louis in 1904 were side-shows. The Games at Paris did not have a stadium, however this was the first time women took part in the games. The St. Louis Games hosted 650 athletes, but 580 were from the United States. The homogeneous nature of these celebrations was a low point for the Olympic Movement. The Games rebounded when the 1906 Intercalated Games (so-called because they were the second Games held within the third Olympiad) were held in Athens. These Games are not officially recognized by the IOC and no Intercalated Games have been held since. These Games, which were hosted at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens, attracted a broad international field of participants, and generated great public interest. This marked the beginning of a rise in both the popularity and the size of the Olympics.

Winter Games
The Winter Olympics were created to feature snow and ice sports that were logistically impossible to hold during the Summer Games. Figure skating (in 1908 and 1920) and ice hockey (in 1920) were featured as Olympic events at the Summer Olympics. The IOC desired to expand this list of sports to encompass other winter activities. At the 1921 Olympic Congress, in Lausanne, it was decided to hold a winter version of the Olympic Games. A winter sports week (it was actually 11 days) was held in 1924 in Chamonix, France; this event became the first Winter Olympic Games. The IOC mandated that the Winter Games be celebrated every four years on the same year as their summer counterpart. This tradition was upheld until the 1992 Games in Albertville, France; after that, beginning with the 1994 Games, the Winter Olympics were held on the third year of each Olympiad.

Paralympics
Main article: Paralympic Games
In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttman, determined to promote the rehabilitation of soldiers after World War II, organized a multi-sport event between several hospitals to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics. Guttman's event, known then as the Stoke Mandeville Games, became an annual sports festival. Over the next twelve years, Guttman and others continued their efforts to use sports as an avenue to healing. For the 1960 Olympic Games, in Rome, Guttman brought 400 athletes to compete in the "Parallel Olympics", which became known as the first Paralympics. Since then, the Paralympics have been held in every Olympic year. As of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, the host city for the Olympics has also played host to the Paralympics.

Youth Games
Main article: Youth Olympic Games
Starting in 2010, the Olympic Games will be complemented by Youth Games, where athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 will compete. The Youth Olympic Games were conceived by IOC president Jacques Rogge in 2001 and approved during the 119th Congress of the IOC. The first Summer Youth Games will be in Singapore in 2010, while the inaugural Winter Games will be hosted in Innsbruck, Austria, two years later. These Games will be shorter than the senior Games; the summer version will last twelve days, while the winter version will last nine days. The IOC will allow 3,500 athletes and 875 officials to participate at the Summer Youth Games, and 970 athletes and 580 officials at the Winter Youth Games. The sports to be contested will coincide with those scheduled for the traditional senior Games, however there will be a reduced number of disciplines and events.
Progression of the Games
From 241 participants representing 14 nations in 1896, the Games have grown to about 10,500 competitors from 204 countries at the 2008 Summer Olympics. The scope and scale of the Winter Olympics is smaller. For example, Turin hosted 2,508 athletes from 80 countries competing in 84 events, during the 2006 Winter Olympics.During the Games most athletes and officials are housed in the Olympic village. This village is intended to be a self-contained home for all the Olympic participants. It is furnished with cafeterias, health clinics, and locations for religious expression.
The IOC allows nations to compete that do not meet the strict requirements for political sovereignty that other international organizations demand. As a result, colonies and dependencies are permitted to set up their own National Olympic Committees. Examples of this include territories such as Puerto Rico, Bermuda, and Hong Kong, all of which compete as separate nations despite being legally a part of another country

International Olympic Committee
IOC headquarters are in Lausanne Switzerland
Overall the Olympic movement encompasses a large number of national and international sporting organizations and federations, recognized media partners, as well as athletes, officials, judges, and every other person and institution that agrees to abide by the rules of the Olympic Charter. As the umbrella organization of the Olympic Movement, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is responsible for selecting the host city, overseeing the planning of the Olympic Games, updating and approving the sports program, and negotiating sponsorship and broadcasting rights. The Olympic Movement is made of three major elements:
International Federations (IFs) are the governing bodies that supervise a sport at an international level. For example, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) is the IF for football (soccer), and the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is the international governing body for volleyball. There are currently 35 IFs in the Olympic Movement, representing each of the Olympic sports.
National Olympic Committees (NOCs) represent and regulate the Olympic Movement within each country. For example, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is the NOC of the United States. There are currently 205 NOCs recognized by the IOC.
Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) constitute the temporary committees responsible for the organization of a specific celebration of the Olympics. OCOGs are dissolved after each Games, once the final report is delivered to the IOC.
French and English are the official languages of the Olympic Movement. The other language used at each Olympic Games is the language of the host country. Every proclamation (such as the announcement of each country during the parade of nations in the opening ceremony) is spoken in these three languages, or the main two depending on whether the host country is an English or French speaking country.

Criticisms and Accusations
The IOC has often been criticized for being an intractable organization, with several members on the committee for life. The leadership of IOC presidents Avery Brundage and Juan Antonio Samaranch was especially controversial. Brundage was president for over 20 years, and during his tenure he protected the Olympics from untoward political involvement. He was accused of both racism, for his handling of the apartheid issue with the South African delegation, and anti-Semitism. Under the Samaranch presidency, the office was accused of both nepotism and corruption. Samaranch's ties with the Franco regime in Spain were also a source of criticism.
In 1998, it was uncovered that several IOC members had taken bribes from members of the Salt Lake City bid committee for the hosting of the 2002 Winter Olympics, to ensure their votes were cast in favor of the American bid. The IOC pursued an investigation which led to the resignation of four members and expulsion of six others. The scandal set off further reforms that would change the way host cities are selected, to avoid similar cases in the future.
A BBC documentary entitled Panorama: Buying the Games, aired in August 2004, investigated the taking of bribes in the bidding process for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The documentary claimed it was possible to bribe IOC members into voting for a particular candidate city. After being narrowly defeated in their bid for the 2012 Summer Games, Parisian Mayor Bertrand Delanoë specifically accused the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the London Bid Committee (headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe) of breaking the bid rules. He cited French President Jacques Chirac as a witness; Chirac gave guarded interviews regarding his involvement. The allegation was never fully explored. The Turin bid for the 2006 Winter Olympics was also shrouded in controversy. A prominent IOC member, Marc Hodler, strongly connected with the rival bid of Sion, Switzerland, alleged bribery of IOC officials by members of the Turin Organizing Committee. These accusations led to a wide-ranging investigation. The allegations also served to sour many IOC members against Sion's bid and potentially helped Turin to capture the host city nomination.

Budgeting and Funding
During the first half of the 20th century the IOC was run on a small budget.As president of the IOC from 1952 to 1972, Avery Brundage rejected all attempts to link the Olympics with commercial interest. Brundage believed the lobby of corporate interests would unduly impact the IOC's decision-making. Brundage's resistance to this revenue stream meant the IOC left organizing committees to negotiate their own sponsorship contracts and use the Olympic symbols. When Brundage retired the IOC had US$2 million in assets; eight years later the IOC coffers had swelled to US$45 million. This was primarily due to a shift in ideology toward expansion of the Games through corporate sponsorship and the sale of television rights. When Juan Antonio Samaranch was elected IOC president in 1980 his desire was to make the IOC financially independent.
The 1984 Summer Olympics became a watershed moment in Olympic history. The Los Angeles-based organizing committee, led by Peter Ueberroth, was able to generate a surplus of US$225 million, which was an unprecedented amount at that time. The organizing committee had been able to create such a surplus in part by selling exclusive sponsorship rights to select companies. The IOC sought to gain control of these sponsorship rights. Samaranch helped to establish The Olympic Program (TOP) in 1985, in order to create an Olympic brand. Membership in TOP was, and is, very exclusive and expensive. Fees cost US$50 million for a four year membership. Members of TOP received exclusive global advertising rights for their product category, and use of the Olympic symbol, the interlocking rings, in their publications and advertisements.

Effect of television
The 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin were the first Games to be broadcast on television, though only to local audiences. The 1956 Winter Olympics were the first internationally televised Olympic Games,and the following Winter Games had their broadcasting rights sold for the first time to specialized television broadcasting networks—CBS paid US$394,000 for the American rights, and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) allocated US$660,000. In the following decades the Olympics became one of the ideological fronts of the Cold War. Superpowers jockeyed for political supremacy, and the IOC wanted to take advantage of this heightened interest via the broadcast medium. The sale of broadcast rights enabled the IOC to increase the exposure of the Olympic Games, thereby generating more interest, which in turn created more appeal to advertisers who purchased advertising time on television. This cycle allowed the IOC to charge ever-increasing fees for those rights. For example, CBS paid US$375 million for the rights of the 1998 Nagano Games, while NBC spent US$3.5 billion for the broadcast rights of all the Olympic Games from 2000 to 2008
Viewership increased exponentially from the 1960s until the end of the century. This began as a result of the beginning of the usage of satellite in 1964 and the introduction of color television in 1968.Worldwide audience estimates for the 1968 Mexico City Games was 600 million, whereas at the Los Angeles Games of 1984, the audience numbers had increased to 900 million; that number swelled to 3.5 billion by the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. However, at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, NBC drew the lowest ratings for any Summer or Winter Olympics since 1968. This was attributed to two factors: one was the increased competition from cable channels, the second was the internet, which was able to display results and video in real time. Television companies were still relying on tape-delayed content, which was becoming outdated in the information era. A drop in ratings meant that television studios had to give away free advertising time. With such high costs charged to broadcast the Games, the added pressure of the internet, and increased competition from cable, the television lobby demanded concessions from the IOC to boost ratings. The IOC responded by making a number of changes to the Olympic program. At the Summer Games, the gymnastics competition was expanded from seven to nine nights, and a Champions Gala was added to draw greater interest. The IOC also expanded the swimming and diving programs, both popular sports with a broad base of television viewers. Finally, the American television lobby was able to dictate when certain events were held so that they could be broadcast live during prime time in the United States. The result of these efforts was mixed: the ratings for the 2006 Winter Games, held in Torino, Italy, were significantly lower than those for the 2002 Games, while there was a sharp increase in viewership for the 2008 Summer Olympics, staged in Beijing. However the sale of the Olympic brand has been controversial. The argument is that the Games have become indistinguishable from any other commercialized sporting spectacle. Specific criticism was levelled at the IOC for market saturation during the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games. The cities were awash in corporations and merchants attempting to sell Olympic-related wares. The IOC indicated that they would address this to prevent spectacles of over-marketing at future Games. Another criticism is that the Games are funded by host cities and national governments; the IOC incurs none of the cost, yet controls all the rights and profits from the Olympic symbols. The IOC also takes a percentage of all sponsorship and broadcast income. Host cities continue to compete ardently for the right to host the Games, even though there is no certainty that they will earn back their investments.

Ceremonies

The Opening
A scene from the opening ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles
As mandated by the Olympic Charter, various elements frame the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Most of these rituals were established at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp. The ceremony typically starts with the hoisting of the host country's flag and a performance of its national anthem. The host nation then presents artistic displays of music, singing, dance, and theater representative of its culture. The artistic presentations have grown in scale and complexity as successive hosts attempt to provide a ceremony that outlasts its predecessor's in terms of memorability. The opening ceremony of the Beijing Games reportedly cost $100 million, with much of the cost incurred in the artistic segment.
After the artistic portion of the ceremony, the athletes parade into the stadium grouped by nation. Greece is traditionally the first nation to enter in order to honor the origins of the Olympics. Nations then enter the stadium alphabetically according to the host country's chosen language, with the host country's athletes being the last to enter. During the 2004 Summer Olympics, which was hosted in Athens, Greece, the Greek flag entered the stadium first, while the Greek delegation entered last. Speeches are given, formally opening the Games. Finally, the Olympic torch is brought into the stadium and passed on until it reaches the final torch carrier—often a well-known and successful Olympic athlete from the host nation—who lights the Olympic flame in the stadium's cauldron.

Closing
Athletes gather in the stadium during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics
The closing ceremony of the Olympic Games takes place after all sporting events have concluded. Flag-bearers from each participating country enter the stadium, followed by the athletes who enter together, without any national distinction. Three national flags are hoisted while the corresponding national anthems are played: the flag of Greece, to honor the birthplace of the Olympic Games; the flag of the current host country, and the flag of the country hosting the next Summer or Winter Olympic Games. The president of the organizing committee and the IOC president make their closing speeches, the Games are officially closed, and the Olympic flame is extinguished. In what is known as the Antwerp Ceremony, the mayor of the city that organized the Games transfers a special Olympic flag to the president of the IOC, who then passes it on to the mayor of the city hosting the next Olympic Games. After these compulsory elements, the next host nation briefly introduces itself with artistic displays of dance and theater representative of its culture.

Medal presentation
A medal ceremony during the 2008 Summer Olympics
A medal ceremony is held after each Olympic event is concluded. The winner, second and third-place competitors or teams stand on top of a three-tiered rostrum to be awarded their respective medals. After the medals are given out by an IOC member, the national flags of the three medalists are raised while the national anthem of the gold medalist's country plays. Volunteering citizens of the host country also act as hosts during the medal ceremonies, as they aid the officials who present the medals and act as flag-bearers. For every Olympic event, the respective medal ceremony is held, at most, one day after the event's final. For the men's marathon, the competition is usually held early in the morning on the last day of Olympic competition and its medal ceremony is then held in the evening during the closing ceremony.


Performance enhancing drugs
In the early 20th century, many Olympic athletes began using drugs to improve their athletic abilities. For example, the winner of the marathon at the 1904 Games, Thomas J. Hicks, was given strychnine and brandy by his coach. The only Olympic death linked to doping occurred at the Rome Games of 1960. During the cycling road race, Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen fell from his bicycle and later died. A coroner's inquiry found that he was under the influence of amphetamines. By the mid-1960s, sports federations were starting to ban the use of performance enhancing drugs; in 1967 the IOC followed suit.
The first Olympic athlete to test positive for the use of performance enhancing drugs was Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, a Swedish pentathlete at the 1968 Summer Olympics, who lost his bronze medal for alcohol use. The most publicized doping-related disqualification was that of Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who won the 100 meter dash at the 1988 Seoul Olympics but tested positive for stanozolol. His gold medal was subsequently stripped and awarded to runner-up Carl Lewis, who himself had tested positive for banned substances prior to the Olympics.
In the late 1990s, the IOC took the initiative in a more organized battle against doping, by forming the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 1999. There was a sharp increase in positive drug tests at the 2000 Summer Olympics and 2002 Winter Olympics. Several medalists in weightlifting and cross-country skiing were disqualified because of doping offenses. During the 2006 Winter Olympics, only one athlete failed a drug test and had a medal revoked. The IOC-established drug testing regimen (now known as the Olympic Standard) has set the worldwide benchmark that other sporting federations around the world attempt to emulate. During the Beijing games, 3,667 athletes were tested by the IOC under the auspices of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Both urine and blood tests were used to detect banned substances. Several athletes were barred from competition by their National Olympic Committees prior to the Games; only three athletes failed drug tests while in competition in Beijing.

Violence
Sadly the Olympics have not brought lasting peace to the world, even during celebrations of the Games. In fact, three Olympiads had to pass without a celebration of the Games because of war: the 1916 Games were cancelled because of World War I, and the summer and winter games of 1940 and 1944 were cancelled because of World War II. The South Ossetia War between Georgia and Russia erupted on the opening day of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Both President Bush and Prime Minister Putin were attending the Olympics at that time and spoke together about the conflict at a luncheon hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao. When Nino Salukvadze of Georgia won the bronze medal in the 10 meter air pistol competition, she stood on the medal podium with Natalia Paderina, a Russian shooter who had won the silver. In what became a much-publicized event from the Beijing Games, Salukvadze and Paderina embraced on the podium after the ceremony had ended.
Terrorism has also threatened the Olympic Games. In 1972, when the Summer Games were held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage by the terrorist group Black September in what is now known as the Munich massacre. The terrorists killed two of the athletes soon after they had taken them hostage and killed the other nine during a failed liberation attempt. A German police officer and 5 terrorists also perished. During the Summer Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta, a bomb was detonated at the Centennial Olympic Park, which killed 2 and injured 111 others. The bomb was set by Eric Robert Rudolph, an American domestic terrorist, who is currently serving a life sentence for the bombing.

Hosting the Games
The host city for an Olympic Games is usually chosen seven years ahead of their celebration. The process of selection is carried out in two phases that span a two-year period. The prospective host city applies to its country's Olympic Committee; if more than one city from the same country submits a proposal to its NOC, the national committee typically holds an internal selection, since only one city per NOC can be presented to the International Olympic Committee for consideration. Once the deadline for submission of proposals by the NOCs is reached, the first phase (Application) begins with the applicant cities asked to complete a questionnaire regarding several key criteria related to the organization of the Olympic Games. In this form, the applicants must give assurances that they will comply with the Olympic Charter and with any other regulations established by the IOC Executive Committee. The evaluation of the filled questionnaires by a specialized group provides the IOC with an overview of each applicant's project and their potential to host the Games. On the basis of this technical evaluation, the IOC Excutive Board selects the applicants that will proceed to the candidature stage.
Once the candidate cities are selected, they must submit to the IOC a bigger and more detailed presentation of their project as part of a candidature file. Each city is thoroughly analyzed by an evaluation commission. This commission will also visit the candidate cities, interviewing local officials and inspecting prospective venue sites, and submit a report on its findings one month prior to the IOC's final decision. During the interview process the candidate city must also guarantee that it will be able to fund the Games. After the work of the evaluation commission, a list of candidates is presented to the General Session of the IOC, which is assembled in a country that must not have a candidate city in the running. The IOC members gathered in the Session have the final vote on the host city. Once elected, the host city bid committee (together with the NOC of the respective country) signs a Host City Contract with the IOC, officially becoming an Olympic host nation and host city.
By 2016, the Olympic Games will have been hosted by 44 cities in 23 countries, but by cities outside Europe and North America on only eight occasions. Since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, the Olympics have been held in Asia or Oceania four times, a sharp increase compared to the previous 92 years of modern Olympic history. The 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro will be the first for a South American country. No bids from countries in Africa have ever succeeded. The countries that sent the most athletes to the 2008 Summer Olympics are China with 639, the United States with 596, and Russia who brought 455 athletes.
The United States has hosted four Summer and four Winter Olympics, more than any other nation. Among Summer Olympics host nations, the United Kingdom has been the host of two Games, and will host its third Olympics in 2012 in London, making London the only city ever to host three times. Germany, Australia, France, and Greece are the other nations to have hosted the Summer Olympics twice.
Concerning the Winter Olympics, France has hosted three Games, while Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Japan, and Italy have hosted twice. The most recent Games were held in Vancouver, Canada's second Winter Olympics and third overall. The next Winter Games will be in Sochi, Russia in 2014, which will be the first time this nation has hosted.




Acknowledgements:
The International Olympic commitee and archives
http://en.wikipe
dia.org
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