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Let The Games Begin The History Of Olympic Day

Olympic Day is celebrated all around the world on June 23, every year. Thousands of people get together to participate in cultural and sporting activities, such as runs, musical performances, and exhibitions.

Also read, The Iconic Journey Of The Olympic Torch

The Origin Of The Olympic Games

The first known Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C in the summer at Olympia, in southern Greece. The games were created to honour Ancient Greek god Zeus. Athletes prayed to Zeus for victory and left gifts to thank him for their victories.

When Rome conquered Greece, they banned the Olympics in 393 A.D. After over 1,500 years the modern version of the Olympic Games was revived in 1896 in Athens, Greece, by Baron Pierre de Coubertin and has been celebrated every four years since then. In 1924, Winter Olympics were added to incorporate winter sports such as cross-country skiing, ice hockey, snowboarding, figure skating. and ski jumping.

Who Is Baron Pierre De Coubertin? 

Baron Pierre de Coubertin is considered the founder of the modern Olympic Games. Born in Paris, France, he was a keen sportsman himself, who enjoyed boxing, fencing, horse-riding, and rowing. He believed that sports were an import- ant part of developing the mental energy of a person.

In 1894, Pierre founded the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) to help build a better world by educating young people about the importance of sports. He is responsible for the creation of the five-ring Olympic symbol in 1913, the Olympic Charter, and the protocol of the games, including the opening and closing ceremonies. He believed, “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the fight the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well. He was the IOC President between 1896 and 1925.

The First Olympic Day

During the 41st Session of the IOC in 1947, Dr. Grusa, a member from Czechoslovakia, presented a report on the concept of World Olympic Day. This day would be dedicated to promoting the Olympic values and ideals. The idea was officially adopted at the 42nd 100 Session in St Moritz, Switzerland in January 1948.

The first-ever Olympic Day was celebrated on June 23, 1948. Since then, Olympic Day has been celebrated annually to encourage participation in sports, promate the Olympic movement, and spread the spirit worldwide. It serves as an opportunity to engage individuals of all ages and backgrounds in sports activities, promoting the values of friendship, fair play, and peace.

Some Interesting Facts About The Olympics

The first Olympic Games had just 14 participating countries, and now over 200 countries participate in the Olympics.

The Olympic symbol was designed to include everyone. The five different coloured rings and the white background are the colours found on the flags of all participating countries.

motorboat sailing used to be Olympic sports but eventually got voted out and games like rugby and golf got voted in.

From 1921 to 1948, artists, writers, and musicians also took part in the Olympics. They competed for medals by creating their works of art based on the sporting successes of the games.

Fencing, football, judo, archery, sailing, handball, trampoline, and water polo are some of the sports included in the Olympic Games.

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The Iconic Journey Of The Olympic Torch

What Is the Olympic Flame?

Before every edition of the Olympic Games, a flame is kindled by rays of the sun during a ceremony held in the ancient ruins of Olympia, Greece under the authority of the International Olympic Committee. This flame is known as the Olympic Flame. The Olympic Flame is usually lit at Olympia a few months before the opening of the Olympic Games. Starting the ceremony at Olympia celebrates the link between the Ancient Olympic Games and the Modern Olympic Games.

From Olympia, the flame is usually carried for a number of weeks until it reaches the host city, mainly on foot by runners, but also using other forms of transport.

For the Paris Olympics, the ceremonial lighting ceremony is scheduled on April 16 in Olympia, Greece. Over 11 days, 600 torchbearers in Greece will carry the flame 500 km across 41 municipalities.

The torch is passed from one torchbearer to the next until it reaches the cauldron at the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium. The flame announces the Olympic Games and spreads a message of peace of peace and friendship between the people. The Torch relay ends at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Olympia was where the Ancient Olympic Games were held.

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The Arrival Of The Flame In France

For the Paris Olympics, the flame will travel from Greece to France by boat. The Olympic flame arriving in the host country symbolises the advent of the spirit of the Games. Before lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony, the flame is carried by a multitude of torchbearers throughout the host country and into the host city.

For the Paris Olympics, the flame will arrive in Marseille in France on May 8. The flame will arrive from Athens, Greece, after travelling by sea on board the full-rigged ship Belem.

The flame will then travel across various French territories for 68 days. 10,000 torchbearers will carry the flame across the 64 territories of France until July 26, when the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony is scheduled to take place on the River Seine.

When And Where Did The Tradition Of The Olympic Torch Relay Begin?

The Olympic Flame first became a tradition of the Modern Olympic Games, when an Olympic Flame was lit and remained burning at the entrance to the Olympic stadium throughout the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games.

However, the Olympic Torch Relay was started for the first time at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. The torch relay has opened the Olympic ceremonies ever since.

Let The Games Begin

The Torch relay ends at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The final runner (or sometimes runners) enters the stadium and lights the cauldron with the Olympic Flame. The Games can then begin!

The Paralympic Flame And Torch Relay

Shortly after the Olympic Flame is extinguished during the closing ceremony for the Olympic Games, the Flame for the Paralympic Games is lit in Stoke Mandeville (in England). Stoke Mandeville is the historic birthplace of Paralympic sport. For the Paris Paralympic Games, the flame after being lit in Stoke Mandeville will cross the sea like its Olympic twin. However, this time the flame will travel via the Channel Tunnel, marking the start of a legendary relay.

From August 25 to August 28, 2024, around 1,000 forerunners will carry the Paralympic Flame to around 50 cities throughout France.

Fun Facts

The current Summer and Winter Olympics torches that carry the Olympic Flame and are designed to withstand wind and rain. They are also uniquely designed to include special elements of the host country and spirit of the Games.

When two torches meet and one already-lit torch lights the flame of the other it’s called a “Kiss“.

Sometimes the Olympic torch can go out. Although, it’s really rare that this happens due to a malfunctioning burner or extreme wind. Just in case, there’s always a “mother flame” carried in specially designed miner’s lanterns that they can use to relight the torch.

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