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The History of Modern Olympic Games and Their Symbols

The first Olympic Games after the ancient Greek times were held after a 1503 year break! In many ways, the event was still very much an amateur contest. In the competition over 300 athletes (but without the participation of women) from 13 countries: England, Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Denmark, France, Greece, Germany, the United States, Switzerland, Sweden and Hungary participated, but the countries did not issue a formal representation.

These games brought many firsts to the competitions:

It was here that the American sprinter Thomas Burke, for the first time in history, started his run, a hundred meter sprint, by doing a slow start. He won the race because of that start; his low start is standard in modern sprints.

The swimming competition was conducted on the high seas, and winner of two races Alfred Hajos of Hungary, won despite the fact that he was late for the start of the competition.

There is a rumor that has been told for years, about the winner of the marathon, Greek by the name of Sprindon Louis. The rumor states that during the marathon Springon Louis allowed himself to stop and take a break at an inn that was near the route of the race, and strengthened him by drinking much good wine. After the break and wine drinking, the marathon participant went back to the marathon and actually won it.

Paris 1900

The Games occurred as part of an international exhibition that illustrated the technological progress, which is proof that the Games did not enjoy much prestige during those times. The Games lasted for five and a half months, which took away the emotional dynamic of a big event. In Paris, in the Games more than 1,300 athletes from 22 countries participated.

Some of the more interesting facts about those Games:

The athletes competed in the Bois de Boulogne Park, where they also had to contend with high grass and trees. The park was used for two competitions in the Games: Croquet and Tug-of-War.

The Marathon was won by Frenchman Michel Theato. This Olympic gold medalist worked every day in his regular job as a supplier of bread and the sport of running had little in common with his work.

The winners of these Olympic Games did not receive medals. The prizes awarded were gifts such as slippers that prevented injuries or combs.

Saint Louis 1904

These Games were the next big failure with a total lack of professionalism shown by the organizers of the event. In the competition, 600 participants participated, of whom about 540 were Americans. After the St. Louis Games, the existence and further organization of the Olympics became a big question mark.

London 1908

Olympics, which have been preserved in memory of people as a great event, were raised to that rank because of the highly respectable event held in London in 1908. For the first time the Olympic Games were held in a professional manner, even though organizers had very little time to prepare the competitions.

In these Games 2008 athletes participated, including 37 women from 22 countries. It was in London that the famous words were spoken: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well". This quote captures the spirit of the Olympic Games and is used to this day.

A Characteristic of these Games was also the stadium - White City. With 80,000 spectators it was a unique object: the audience could simultaneously see the competitions in athletics, swimming and football, thanks to the fact that all the stands surrounded the fields and running tracks. This is the only stadium in the history of the Games. The Royal Family was the patronages of the Olympics which gave its international prestige.

These Olympic Games, however, was not entirely free of shortcomings. Today, these shortcomings would be seen as unthinkable:

The competition judges were almost exclusively British, which resulted in many questioning their judgments, which favored their countrymen.

Traditionally, the marathon had the dramatic finish. Dorando Pietri of Italy, who first ran into the stadium and collapsed just before the finish. To cross the finish line first, viewers actually physically helped him up and helped him cross the finish line. Of course, he was disqualified.

Stockholm 1912

Great Olympics was the excellent organization of the event equaled with a high level of performance from the athletes. The prestige of the Olympics definitely gained as a result of these Games.

2500 athletes from 28 countries representing all the continents, participated in the competition, which meant a significant increase in the popularity of competitions and the Games itself, in the world.

Olympic Symbols & Colors

5 Olympic rings mean the union of athletes on five continents

Blue: Europe
Yellow: Asia
Black: Africa
Green: Australia and Oceania
Red: America

The Olympic Anthem

The Olympic anthem is a song adopted by the IOC in 1958. The authors are Greek artists. Kostis Palamas wrote the words and music was written by Spiros Samaras. The premiere of the Olympic Anthem took place during the Modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896.

The words are as follow:
Immortal spirit of antiquity,
Father of the true, beautiful and good,
Descend, appear, shed over us thy light
Upon this ground and under this sky
Which has first witnessed thy imperishable fame.

Give life and animation to those noble games!
Throw wreaths of fadeless flowers to the victors
In the race and in strife!
Create in our breasts, hearts of steel!

In thy light, plains, mountains and seas
Shine in a roseate hue and form a vast temple
To which all nations throng to adore thee,
Oh immortal spirit of antiquity!

From 1896 years Latin expression Citius - Altius - Fortius is the official slogan of the Olympic Games. The expression, in translation to English, means simply faster - higher - stronger. The author is a friend of Coubertin, Dominican Henri le Didon. The content of this term refers not only to the physical aspect of the games, but it also encompasses the moral and aesthetic purpose. It is widely accepted around the world and it is an important hallmark of modern philosophy of the Olympic Games.

The Olympic Mascot

The first Olympic mascot was the "Schuss", a puppet skier. It functioned informally during the Winter Games in Grenoble in 1968. Neither in Mexico in 1968, nor in Sapporo in 1972 had any mascot been present. A mascot was present later in Germany in Munich in 1972. The Mascot was a dachshund "Waldi", the first unofficial Olympic mascot. From then on, all subsequent Olympic Games, winter and summer, had their own mascot. Since 1991, the presence of a mascot is sanctioned by the Olympic Charter

Mascots during the Olympic Games

1972 Dachshund - "Waldi" the dachshund
1976 Montreal - "Amika" the beaver
1980 Moscow - "Misha" the bear, a project by Joze Trobec
1984 Los Angeles - "Sam" the eagle, a project by Robert C. Moore
1988 Seoul - "Hodori" the tiger, a project by Kim Hyon
1992 Barcelona - "Kobi" the dog, a project by Javier Mariscal
1996 Atlanta - "Izzy" the mascot, a project by John Ryan
2000 Sydney - "Syd", "Mille" and "Olly", a project by Matthew Hatton

The official Olympic mascots were the Kingfisher "Olly", "Syd" the platypus and Millie the short-beaked echidna. Their names are derived from the words of the Olympic Games, Sydney, and millennium.

Athens 2004 - Athena and Apollo symbolize the sun and sky and sea of Greece.

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