The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in the four-year period.
Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, held in Olympia, Greece from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, leading to the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. The IOC is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority.
- You request my presence at the Olympic Games, and for that reason you have sent envoys. For myself, I would come for the spectacle of physical struggle, except that I would be abandoning the greater struggle for virtue.
- In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams.
- Baron Pierre de Coubertin, as quoted in The Olympic Idea : Discourses and Essays (1970) by Carl Diem, p. 8
- It’s no secret that in the world of elite sports, the wage gap is much wider than it is in the general workforce, where it hovers around 20 percent. For the U.S. women’s hockey team, that reality looked bleak: They received $1,000 monthly stipends for a six-month training period leading up to the Olympics, which, with Olympic bonuses, amounts to about $20,000 every four years. “It’s a full time job,” team captain Megan Duggan tells InStyle. But like many of her colleagues, she had to take on a side-hustle, in her case coaching NCAA hockey, to make ends meet.
- Judith Brumley and Romy Oltuski, "How the US Women’s Hockey Team Tripled Their Salaries By Banding Together", InStyle, (Mar 29, 2019).
- The Olympic Movement today is perhaps the greatest social force in the world.
- The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part . . . The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
- Pierre de Coubertin, Olympic Ideals in Crisis; Awake! magazine (8 September 2000)
- Note: Coubertin believed that engaging in wholesome competition could build good character, foster sound judgment, and promote upright conduct. He even spoke of a ‘religion of sport.’ The Olympics, he felt, could teach people to live in peace.
- A better world could be brought about only by better individuals.
- Baron Pierre de Coubertin, Attaining the Ideals, Awake! magazine (8 September 2000)
- I therefore think that I was right in trying from the outset of the Olympic revival to rekindle a religious awareness.
- Winning medals wasn’t the point of the Olympics. It’s the participating that counts.
- Pierre de Coubertin, The Olympics—Where Are They Headed?; Awake! (8 February 1977)
- After erroneous reports of a pack of “wretched women” runners ruined at the 1928 Summer Games, the Olympics eliminated all women’s events that stretched beyond 200 meters. In 1967, commentators told Kathrine Switzer that her uterus would collapse if she competed in the Boston Marathon (she finished, and it did not). Women didn’t gain clearance to compete in all the track events available to men at the Olympics until 2008.
- As researchers Marie Hardin and Jennifer D. Greer found in 2009, “NBC’s Olympic coverage showcases women’s figure skating or gymnastics, while Olympic sports such as women’s shot put or discus are virtually invisible.”
- Amanda Hess, "Why We Love Watching Female Figure Skaters, But Not Female Basketball Players", Slate, Feb 10, 2014
- Founder Pierre de Coubertin established the modern Games as the focal point for a social movement that would help make the world a better place by propagating the humanitarian philosophy of Olympism and broad educational practices.
- Bruce Kidd, writing in the Calgary Herald
- To look at any film clip from the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, it to sense that a renaissance took place during those ten days of sporting events.
For starteers, the ultra-picturesque backdrop of blue skies and snow-capped, peaceful mountains of the war-neutral host country provided a sharp contrast to the shattered Europe that was often seen in the mid-to-late 1940s. Then there was the simple fact that an Olympics was actually taking place at all-it was the first Games (winter or summer) since 1936, and the ability for 28 countries to somehow unite in this way, just a few years after a devestating war, was surreal, to say the least. (It's worth noting, though, that neither Germany nor Japan were invited to participate-and as far as slaying went, neither country was re-admitted into the International Skating Union until 1951.)
- Kelli Lawrence, “Skating on Air: The Broadcast History of an Olympic Marquee Sport”, , McFarland, (Jan 10, 2014), p.17
- The last of the ancient Olympic Games was held in A.D. 393. In the following year the edict of the emperor Theodosius prohibited the holding of the Games.
- History of the Olympic Games, by Xenophon L. Messinesi
- Nothing of all the ceremonies seems to create such an impression as the Flame which comes from Olympia . . . It links the Games about to be held with the religious expression sanctified over the centuries.
- History of the Olympic Games, by Xenophon L. Messinesi
- In the 1936 Olympics, Adolf Hitler became the first to exploit sports as an arm of nationalism.
- James Michener, in his book Sports in America
- Losing a game is not equivalent to death. Failing to be numero uno does not make me a lesser human being.
- The road to the Olympics, leads to no city, no country. It goes far beyond New York or Moscow, ancient Greece or Nazi Germany. The road to the Olympics leads — in the end — to the best within us.
- Jesse Owens, As quoted in People In America : "Jesse Owens" by Barbara Dash on VOA (7 June 2002)
- The father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, described women's sport as an "unaesthetic sight" for the human eye and considered their participation would make the competition "impractical, uninteresting" and "improper" (although a few female athletes were allowed to take part after 1900).
- A Women on Boards report found a widespread problem across disciplines, with fewer than 30% of board seats held by women in many governing bodies.
Women are just 18% of all board members across the 28 International Sports Federations assessed. In the 129 National Olympic Committees, the figure is even lower and has actually fallen - women are 16.6% of the board, down from 17.6% in 2014.
- Valeria Perasso, “100 Women: Is the gender pay gap in sport really closing?”, BBC, 23 October 2017
- I think that once people feel it’s important to the nation that they should have a lot of medals or whatever it is, I think I’d rather shelve the competitions they are pointless.
- More families should watch the Olympics together. To me, those are core American family values: Cheering on a corrupt institutional body that's super problematic with money and opportunity but we all pretend like it's an equal playing field and celebrate it - what's more American than that?
- Jonathan Van Ness, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love (2019), p. 17