The 22nd Olympic Winter Games begin today, February 7th!
Although the Olympic games originated in ancient Greece and were very different from the games we have today, the spirit and tradition of competition remains the same.
The games this year will add twelve new competitions, including women’s ski jumping and team figure skating.
(Here’s a fun fact: The lucky few who win gold medals on February 15th will receive gold medals with pieces of the Chelyabinsk meteor that landed in Russia a year ago! )
There are more than 200 nations competing in the games. The U.S. has 230 athletes competing in various events, the most of any other nation.
The first modern day Olympic were way back in 1896. Although sports have come and gone in that time, there are various traditions the Olympics takes pride in preserving. Here are a few of the biggest ones:
The Olympic Motto:
The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” This motto wants to inspire athletes to excel past their goals and win for their country.
The rings are the international symbol of the games. Their colors were made to represent the color of every nation’s flag that was competing that year. From Wikipedia: “The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tri- colours of France, England and America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the yellow and red of Spain next to the novelties of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan and new China”. The rings now represent each of the continents of the world, remaining an international symbol of unity.
My personal favorite tradition, The Torch:
The Olympic torch is from the ancient Greek games. The flame is lit in Greece several months before the games are set to start and travels around the world until it reaches the host city.
This year’s torch relay will be the longest in history, spanning a 40,000 mile route.
In November, the torch was passed in open space for the first time! How cool is that?
From the article:
“Today we are making Olympic history by taking the torch on a spacewalk for the first time,” Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, said. “This feat underlines incredible human capabilities and will symbolize the aspirations of all athletes from around the world to reach new heights in sports.”
Can’t wait to see what the games have in store!
Are you going to watch the Winter Olympics? Which sport are you most excited about?