Symbol: Five rings or circles, linked
together to represent the sporting friendship of all peoples. The rings
also symbolize 5 geographic areas- Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and
America. Each ring is a different color- blue, yellow, black, green, and
Flag: The symbol of the 5 rings
on a plain white backgrounnd.
Motto: "Citius, Altius, Fortius."
Latin meaning "faster, higher, braver," or in a more modern rendering,
"swifter, higher, stronger." The motto was coined by Father Didon, a French
educator, in 1895.
Creed: "The most important thing
in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important
thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing
is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
Oath: An athlete of the host country
recites the following at the opening ceremony. "In the name of all competitors
I promise that we will 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 honor of our teams." Both the oath and the
creed were composed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern
Flame: Symbolizes the continuity between the ancient and
modern Games. The modern version of the flame was adopted in 1936. The
torch used to kindle the flame is first lit by the sun's rays at Olympia,
Greece, and then carried to the site of the Games by relays of runners.
Ships and planes are used when necessary.
The World Almanac® and Book of Facts 1997 is
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The Winter Olympic Games were first held in 1924 at Chamonix,
France, and included 14 events in five different sports. The Winter Games
first gained wide international notice in 1928 at Saint Moritz, Switzerland,
when Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie won the first of her three consecutive
Olympic figure skating titles.
The games were cancelled in 1940 and 1944 because of World
War II. At the 1948 games, held again in Saint Moritz, American Dick Button
won the men's figure skating event, and he won again at the 1952 games
in Oslo, Norway.
At the 1956 games in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, figure
skater Tenley Albright became the first American to win the women's event.
Italian downhill skier Toni Sailer won all three of the men's skiing events
(downhill, slalom, and giant slalom), a feat repeated at the 1968 games
in Grenoble, France, by French downhill skier Jean-Claude Killy.
American speed skater Eric Heiden dominated the 1980 games
in Lake Placid, New York, winning all five of the men's speed-skating events.
The United States ice hockey team defeated the dominant Soviet team and
went on to win the gold medal.
At the 1984 games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, East German
Katarina Witt won the women's figure skating event; she repeated her victory
in 1988 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. American speed skater Bonnie Blair
won the 500-meter race, and Italian downhill skier Alberto Tomba won the
men's slalom and giant-slalom events.
Both Blair and Tomba won gold medals at the 1992 games
in Albertville, France, and Blair won two more at the 1994 games in Lillehammer,
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