It is time once again for elite athletes to showcase their prowess and vie for the coveted gold medal and honour bestowed on the best of the best. We’re talking about the XXII Winter Olympics which will open on February 9 in PyeongChang, South Korea. For 16 days, athletes from all over the world will compete with their many years of gruelling preparations for only seconds of competition.
The Olympics originated in Greece at around 776 BC. The games were originally a festival for Greek citizens, specifically men, to pay homage to Zeus. Games back then included running, combat, pentathlon and equestrian. They were held at four-year intervals, referred to as the Olympiad. Prizes for the winners were simple olive wreaths or crowns. But no doubt, the honour and the chronicle of their exploits were the most fulfilling.
Modern Olympics feature summer and winter tournaments. The first summer games were held in Athens in 1896, two years after the establishment of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. And the first Winter Olympic Games did not happen until 1924 in Chamonix, France. Over the years, the Olympics evolved to include the Paralympic Games for athletes with physical disabilities, the Youth Olympic Games for teenage athletes and the Special Olympics for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Do you ever wonder what the Olympic icon of five rings is about? Well, the interlocking rings are meant to represent the unity of the five continents, Africa, Asia, America, Oceania, and Europe during the competitions. And the colours of the rings blue, yellow, black, green, and red represent the colors in the flags of countries.
Canada was host to three Olympic Games: The 1976 XXI Summer Olympics in Montreal, 1988 XV Winter Olympics in Calgary and XXI Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The Calgary games are well-known for the participation of British ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards and the début of the Jamaican Bobsled team.
Don’t forget to watch the games on your local TV station or on live stream!
GO CANADA GO!