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The Olympics – past and present

Starting in 776 BC the ancient Olympic Games were held every four years in Olympia, Greece. These early games were based on a religious festival and featured athletic events including combat and chariot races. Winners were hailed as heroes, given awards and immortalized in song and stone.

Tradition has it that a cook from the city of Elis was the first ever Olympic champion. Over time the games declined in importance and were officially ended in 393 AD. In the 1856 the first modern Olympic Games were on such a small scale and were held in Athens city square. It was not until a stadium was built, and an international committee created, that the new age of Olympic international games was launched in 1896.

These Games brought together 14 nations and 241 athletes who competed in 43 events. Despite war and civil unrest the spirit of the Olympic Games with its motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger” continued, adding winter sports in 1928 and, in 1960, the first Paralympics in which people with disabilities compete and excel.

English is one of the official languages of the Olympic Movement and in 2012 the Summer Olympics and Paralympics were held in London with the motto ‘Inspire a Generation’.

To meet the challenge of hosting the largest multi-sport event ever to be held in the United Kingdom in which 204 countries fielded 10,820 athletes, London developed the Olympic Park. In the history of modern media no sport event has had so much international coverage and all 5000 hours of the games has been broadcasted to the world.



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