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The time has arrived when national athletes are the talk of the town, when patriotism runs rampant and flags and anthems fill the air. The Olympic Games is one of the most elite sports events in the world and seen as the ultimate goal, and highlight of many athletes’ careers. The Olympics are held every four years with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart. Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The modern Summer Olympics for 2016 are to be held in Rio from the 5th to the 21st of August with more than 200 nations competing.  There is a wide variety of sports featured in the Summer Olympics ranging from Gymnastics to Swimming with 136 medals to be won, it is enough to leave anybody glued to their screens.

The Olympic Games is more than just a sporting meet, there is a lot of tradition and symbolism that is associated with the iconic event that is so often forgotten by viewers  amidst all their excitement and anticipation. Without all these symbols and and traditions, the Olympics would just not be the same. We have gotten all the details on the most prominent features that contribute to the Olympics being a truly spectacular event.

The Torch: The Ancient Greeks believed that fire was a gift to humankind and considered to have sacred qualities. In the modern Olympics, the torch takes on a different meaning. Today, the Olympic flame is lit in front of the ruins of the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece. The flame emphasizes the connection between the ancient games and the modern ones. The torch is brought from Greece to the site of the current Games and is used to light a cauldron which will remain lit until it is extinguished in The Closing Ceremony to represent the completion of that year’s Olympics.

The Release of The Doves: In the Summer Olympics,  doves are released after the cauldron is lit to represent peace. Doves are not usually released in the Winter Olympics due to the cold and white balloons are released in their place.

The Olympic Motto: “ Citius—Altius—Fortius.”  Latin for “faster, higher, stronger.” The intended meaning is that one’s focus should be on bettering themselves and their own achievements, rather than on winning a gold medal. This encourages good sportsmanship.

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Though the Olympics have been taking place for thousands of years, the International Olympic Committee was only founded in 1894, which is when the motto was established.

The Medal Bite: Many of us have been perplexed at the amount of Olympians who bite down on their medals. It is actually a tradition. Hundreds of years ago, the way in which people would test if something is solid gold would be to bite down on the item, real gold being quite soft would leave indentation. This is slightly ironic as Olympic gold medals have not been made of real gold for over 100 years! Nowadays the medal bite is purely a pose that many photographers encourage and insist athletes perform when taking their winning photograph.

The Olympic Symbol: The Olympic logo depicts five rings in different colours. Together, they represent the five inhabited continents, although no particular ring is meant to represent any specific continent. (The Americas are treated as one continent.) The rings are interlaced to represent the idea that the Olympics are universal, bringing athletes from the entire world together.

The Olympic Games is an event which holds much excitement and suspense for participants and viewers alike. Not only does the event bring the world together and encourage national pride, but it also makes for fantastic TV viewing! Who will you be rooting for?

By: Lauren Sydne Matthews

 

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