The Olympics


  • 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 red.
  • 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 Games.
  • 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 licensed from K-III Reference Corporation. Copyright © 1996 by K-III Reference Corporation. All rights reserved.
 
 

Winter Olympics


  • 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, Norway.


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