Are you excited about the 2014 Winter Olympics? We sure are!
Here are some fun facts about the Olympics (courtesy of Olympic.org) that you can share around the water cooler over the next few weeks:
The Olympic symbol consists of five interlaced rings of equal dimensions, used alone, in one or in five different colours, which are, from left to right, blue, yellow, black, green and red. The Olympic rings represent the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.
However, it is wrong to say that each of the colours corresponds to a certain continent! In fact, when Pierre de Coubertin created the Rings in 1913, the five colours combined with the white background represented the colours of the flags of all nations at that time, without exception.
The Olympic motto is made up of three Latin words: Citius – Altius – Fortius. These words mean Faster – Higher – Stronger.
It was the Dominican priest Henri Didon who first expressed the words in the opening ceremony of a school sports event in 1881. Pierre de Coubertin, who was present that day, adopted them as the Olympic motto. It expresses the aspirations of the Olympic Movement not only in its athletic and technical sense but also from a moral and educational perspective.
In order to become an Olympian, athletes must first comply with the Olympic Charter and follow the rules of the International Federation (IF) governing their sport. The IFs establish the rules and organize qualifying events, while the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the athlete’s country supports the athlete and is responsible for entering them for the Games.
There is no specific age limit for taking part in the Olympic Games. This depends on each International Sports Federation and the rules it lays down for its sport.
Women and the Olympics
Women competed for the first time at the 1900 Games in Paris. Of a total of 997 athletes, 22 women competed in five sports: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrianism and golf. With the addition of women’s boxing to the Olympic programme, the 2012 Games in London were the first in which women competed in all the sports on the programme. Since 1991, any new sport seeking to join the Olympic programme must have women’s competitions. At the 2012 Games in London, 44 per cent of the participants were women.
Numerous criteria are considered when choosing a host city. Since 1999, the election procedure has lasted two years:
– During the first phase, the so-called Applicant Cities must answer a questionnaire prepared by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). A group of experts then examines the answers, after which the IOC Executive Board chooses the official “candidates” from among the Applicant Cities.
– During the second phase, the Candidate Cities must submit a file in response to a second questionnaire from the IOC. This covers a wide range of topics, including the Olympic village, transport, security, accommodation, sports and venues, the environment and marketing.
– An Evaluation Commission then analyses the various candidature files and produces a report for the IOC members, allowing them to judge each city’s ability to host the Games.
– Lastly, at the IOC Session, the members vote to elect the host city.