Are there registers of the scores and participation in ancient Olympic games?

Are there registers of the scores and participation in ancient Olympic games?

There are sources listing who (i.e. which country) participated in each Modern Olympic Game and the scores achieved by them.

Does such data exist for the Ancient Olympic Games? Are there information about who participated and who won what? If there are such information, were they compiled and recorded by a "organizational team" or something similar, or were they eventually mentioned by spectator authors in their accounts?


Yes, the wikipedia page has very good details about this.

ORIGIN-

They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. The first Olympics is traditionally dated to 776 BC.

EVENTS- There were many events in Ancient Olympic games. There is one page available which contains the list of victors in events, but it is not in very good condition. You can see here

FAMOUS ATHLETES-

There were several participants in the Olympics events, some of them are mentioned here-

From Sparta

1- Cynisca of Sparta (owner of a four-horse chariot) (first woman to be listed as an Olympic victor).

From Rhodes:

1- Diagoras of Rhodes (boxing 79th Olympiad, 464 BC) and his sons Akusilaos and Damagetos (boxing and pankration).

2- Leonidas of Rhodes (running: stadion, diaulos and hoplitodromos)(His record of 12 individual olympic titans was broken in 2016 by Michael Phelps who received his 13th original title.[79]).

From Croton:

1-Astylos of Croton (running: stadion, diaulos and hoplitodromos).

2-Milo of Croton (wrestling).

3-Timasitheos of Croton (wrestling).

From other cities/kingdoms:

1-Koroibos of Elis (stadion, the very first Olympic champion).

2-Orsippus of Megara (running: diaulos).

3-Theagenes of Thasos (boxer, pankratiast and runner).

4-Alexander I of Macedon (running: stadion) [81].

Non-Greek:

1-Tiberius (steerer of a four-horse chariot)[82].

2-Nero (steerer of a ten-horse chariot).

3-Varastades, Prince and future King of Armenia, last known Ancient Olympic victor (boxing) during the 291st Olympic Games in the 4th century.

Apart from this there is another source which tells about the number of events and it's winners. The list can be seen here


To add to the first answer, there is no single registry of athletes who performed in the Olympic or various other pan-Hellenic games. I am sure though that there have been attempts by modern researchers to compile such a list.

In Sparta today you can see on the main street a monument dedicated to all the past Spartan Olympic victors to the present day. I took a photo of it when i went there in 2016.

Name of Athlete - Contest - Year (π.Χ is BC and μ.Χ is AD )


Olympic Games History

The Olympic Games took their name from the Ancient Greek city of Olympia. Though there were important athletic competitions held in other Greek cities in ancient times, the Olympic Games were regarded as the most prestigious. The games were held every four years during August and September and the term "Olympiad," which referred to the four-year interval between competitions, was commonly used as a measurement of time.


Onward to the Olympics: Historical Perspectives on the Olympic Games. Publications of the Canadian Institute in Greece, 5

As each summer Olympic year approaches, the attention of the world turns not only to sports and athletes but also to reconsider the ancient Olympic festival, from which the modern games take their name and claim inspiration. For example, a conference in Sydney in July 2000 preceded the Sydney Games (“Olympia and the Olympics: Festival and Identity in the Ancient World”) and a conference is planned in London for September 2008 (“Think the Olympics: Modern Bodies, Classical Minds?”), with the London conference not only stealing some thunder from Beijing but also eagerly anticipating the 2012 Games in London. This impulse was also felt as the Athens Olympics approached in 2004: a Pre-Olympic Conference was held at Aristotle University at Thessaloniki and another was held much further away from Athens in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. This last, a two-day conference in October 2003, was co-sponsored by Wilfrid Laurier University and the Canadian Academic Institute in Athens (now the Canadian Institute in Greece / l’Institut canadien en Grèce). It attracted some of the leading scholars in the study of ancient athletics. The ensuing collection of articles was edited by Gerald Schaus and Stephen Wenn and handsomely published by Wilfrid Laurier Press.

The stated aim of the conference was to explore the connections between the ancient and modern games and, more importantly, to bring together those scholars who study each. It was hoped that joint sessions might encourage discussion and exchange of ideas, so that scholars from quite different historical periods might learn from each other. It is certainly a wonderful idea, but the resultant book here under review maintains the division, as the ancient material (on which I admittedly shall focus) has been separated off from the papers on the modern games, though the two halves do share a glossary and an index. The first half of the book is concerned with “The Olympics in Antiquity” (13 papers) and the second with “The Modern Olympics” (10 papers). Technical language stays inaccessible to outsiders. For example, Greek terms — often in Greek script — pepper the pages of the first half. Indeed, so sharp is the split that there are even two separate lists for works cited. It is almost as if we have two books published together rather than one cohesive volume. Such a broad division into ancient and modern seems to indicate that the stated motivation for the conference was not fully realized. Except for Robert Weir’s chapter on coinage of the ancient and modern Olympics, very few papers actually attempt to explore the connections between antiquity and today most authors stick to what they know. Fair enough. So do most reviewers.

Perhaps, however, the desire to explore these connections may still be realized. Few books or articles dealing with ancient sport have much to say about (or to?) the modern Olympic movement and similarly, those publications concerned with the modern games offer little beyond the vaguest of generalities about the ancient games, and often get it wrong. By editing and publishing the conference papers, Schaus and Wenn have managed to put in the hands of any interested reader a collection of articles between two covers that deal with both ancient problems and modern issues. How can anyone interested in the study of ancient athletics resist at least skimming through an article with a title like: “Duke Kahanamoku—Olympic Champion and Uncle Sam’s Adopted Son: The Cultural Text of a Hawaiian Conqueror” by Jim Nendel (243-251), or “Carl Diem’s Inspiration of the Torch Relay? Jan Wils, Amsterdam 1928, and the Origin of the Olympic Flame” by Robert Barney and Anthony Bijkerk (253-259). These, and many others in Part II, are important papers, especially for classicists like me who regularly teach an “Ancient Sport” course especially popular with non-classics majors. Most useful in this regard is Robert Barney’s overview of the modern Olympic Games (221-241).

There is much that the two sides can learn from each other, especially with respect to the cultural significance of sport and sporting spectacles in society. That said, the division between the ancient Olympic festival and the modern games will probably persist. The two are not the same, whatever the similarities may be found, real or imagined. For example, contemporary commentators who wish to stress the ideals of peace and unity and brotherhood claimed by the modern Olympics have made much of the so-called “sacred truce” of ancient Olympia. But this “truce” in no way sought to promote peace and certainly cannot be linked in any way to the notion of the brotherhood of humanity. Ancient athletics, always celebrated in connection with festivals of the gods, were not confined to Olympia, of course, and were intended to demonstrate the power of the gods and the power of men and boys. Rather than bringing people together, athletic festivals excluded non-Greeks (and women) and may even have served to re-enforce divisions within Greek society, as has been argued by Mark Golden (not a contributor to the present volume). 1

The differences between the ancient and modern games receive a full treatment by Schaus in his introduction and by Nigel Crowther in his article, “The Ancient Olympics and their Ideals”. Crowther’s first paper in the volume,”The Ancient Olympic Games through the Centuries”, serves as an overview of the long history of Olympia, from its earliest beginnings in myth and ritual to the Roman period. With respect to this later period, Crowther reveals something of a bias evident in much of the scholarship of ancient athletics: the “Golden Age” of Greek sport in the late Archaic and Classical Periods underwent a decline in the Hellenistic Period and certainly suffered badly under the Romans. In discussing the ancient evidence in his introduction to the work, Schaus too comments that one of the important literary descriptions of the sanctuary at Olympia comes from Pausanias in the mid-second century AD, “well after the games had passed their ‘Golden Age'” (xix). Crowther notes with some sadness it seems that “by the time of the Empire, cult statues of Roman emperors and generals were found in the Sanctuary next to those of Greek gods” (8). For Crowther, Nero’s “antics” at the 211th Olympiad (postponed until AD 67 so that the emperor could compete at Olympia as part of his grand tour of Greek agonistic festivals) “showed how powerless Elis had become” (8). Contrary to this view of decline in the Roman period, however, it is rather that Greek athletics and athletic festivals flourished and prospered then as never before. Games modeled specifically on Olympia were found all over the Mediterranean (such as the Sebasta in Naples). Moreover, Nero’s “antics” in Greece should in no way be seen as a sign of disrespect to the Greek games. Instead, he took them extremely seriously (see Suet. Nero 24) and may even have based his claim to rule on his agonistic success. 2

In the next paper, “Politics and the Bronze Age Origins of Olympic Practices”, Senta C. German explores the origins, not strictly of the games at Olympia, as the title suggests, but rather of early Greek athletics in general. German looks far beyond the traditional date of 776 BC all the way back to the Minoans and Mycenaeans and does note that there is evidence for the Bronze Age occupation of the site. There is, however, little to suggest that the site was a centre of athletics or cultic activity. The next two papers (Thomas K. Hubbard, “Pindar, Heracles the Idaean Dactyle, and the Foundation of the Olympic Games”, and Max Nelson, “The First Olympic Games”) examine the early Olympics from two very different points of view. Hubbard explores the myths connecting Herakles to the site and Nelson reviews the scholarship around the venerable, but probably wrong, date of 776 BC.

Paul Christesen, in his paper “The Transformation of Athletics in Sixth Century Greece”, examines the explosion of agonistic festivals during the later archaic period. He discards the older theory that the rigors of the hoplite phalanx made athleticism necessary (60) and then focuses on the rapid growth in interest in sport in the sixth century. Starting from the idea that athletic competition was a collective activity that underpinned the structure of society at the very beginning of the archaic period (eighth century BC as can be seen in the Homeric epics, Christesen argues that athletics “played a vital role in elite competition” (62) and indeed that participation itself was enough to mark one as a member of the elite. Thus, Christesen notes, when Odysseus claimed exhaustion and declined to participate in the games of the Phaiacians, Euryalus heaped abuse on him, calling him little more than a money-grubbing merchant ( Od. 8.145-164). To establish his credentials as a member of the elite, Odysseus must then compete, something which he does quite successfully, of course. By the sixth century, however, the participation of non-elite hoplites in the defense of the polis, in politics, and increasingly in the athletics of the gymnasium represented a “middling” of society, and was all made more possible by the adoption of athletic nudity by the non-elite hoplites. “The participation of elites and non-elites in the same activity, on the same terms, simultaneously minimized the difference between these two groups, while the absence of clothing, one of the most commonly employed social markers, limited social-economic stratification” (64).

After Crowther’s second article, referred to above, in which he explores and explodes the ancient reality of some of the modern Olympic movement’s claimed links to Olympia, we then have Victor Matthews’ interesting examination of Olympic losers and why some were remembered. If we believe Pindar, they were to slink away in the dark corners to avoid taunts ( Pyth. 8.86-87). David Romano’s paper, “Judges and Judging at the Ancient Olympic Games” surveys the duties of the judges at Olympia specifically, which included organizing the games, supervising the training, as well as judging the events. Aileen Ajootian’s paper looks at a great variety of evidence for the draw for opponents in paired competitions. We realize in reading this just how little we know about many of the actual events at Olympia. This is confirmed by Hugh M. Lee in his paper examining the jumping event in the pentathlon: “The Halma : A Running or Standing Jump?”

Other aspects of the ancient Olympic festival are treated. Donald Kyle examines the limited evidence for the participation of women in ancient athletics and Olympia in particular in his paper, “Fabulous Females and Ancient Olympia”. Gerald Schaus examines the archaeological evidence for a running track at Stymphalus in the central Peloponnese and the connections between this small city and Olympia in particular. As mentioned above, the final article in Part I, “Commemorative Cash: the Coins of the Ancient and Modern Olympics” by Robert Weir, serves to link the ancient (especially the Roman period) and modern games. He studies a parallel phenomenon in the modern games: the issuing of commemorative, souvenir, coins.

The book is dedicated to the memory of Victor Matthews from the University of Guelph, one of the organizers of and participants in the conference, who died in November 2004. To one so interested in ancient Greek sport, modern Olympics, and an athlete himself, this important collection of papers is a fitting memorial.

Table of Contents:

Part I: The Olympics in Antiquity

Nigel B. Crowther, “The Ancient Olympic Games through the Centuries” 3-13.

Senta C. German, “Politics and the Bronze Age Origins of Olympic Practices” 15-25.

Thomas K. Hubbard, “Pindar, Heracles the Idaean Dactyle, and the Foundation of the Olympic Games” 27-45.

Max Nelson, “The First Olympic Games” 47-58.

Paul Christesen, “The Transformation of Athletics in Sixth Century Greece” 59-68.

Nigel B. Crowther, “The Ancient Olympics and their Ideals” 69-80.

Victor Matthews, “Olympic Losers: Why Athletes Who Did Not Win at Olympia Are Remembered” 81-93.

David G. Romano “Judges and Judging at the Ancient Olympic Games” 95-113.

Aileen Ajootian, “Heroic and Athletic Sortition at Ancient Olympia” 115-129.

Donald G. Kyle, “Fabulous Females and Ancient Olympia” 131-152.

Hugh M. Lee, “The Halma : A Running or Standing Jump?” 153-165.

Gerald P. Schaus, “Connections between Olympia and Stymphalus” 167-178.

Robert Weir, “Commemorative Cash: the Coins of the Ancient and Modern Olympics” 179-192.

Works Cited in Part I: 193-218.

Part II: The Modern Olympics

Robert K. Barney, “The Olympic games in Modern Times” 221-241.

Jim Nendel, “Duke Kahanamoku—Olympic Champion and Uncle Sam’s Adopted Son: The Cultural Text of a Hawaiian Conqueror” 243-251.

Robert K. Barney and Anthony Th. Bijkerk, “Carl Diem’s Inspiration of the Torch Relay? Jan Wils, Amsterdam 1928, and the Origin of the Olympic Flame” 253-259.

Jonathan Paul, “The Great Procession: A Content Analysis of the Lake Placid News and the Los Angeles Times‘ Treatment of the 1932 Olympics” 261-271.

Kevin B. Wamsley, “Womanizing Olympic Athletes: Policy and Practice during the Avery Brundage Era” 271-282.

Courtney W. Mason, “The Bridge to Change: The 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, South African Apartheid Policy, and the Olympic Boycott Paradigm” 283-296.

David A. Greig, “Splitting Hairs: The Struggle between the Canadian Federal Government and the Organizing Committee of the 1976 Torontolympiad concerning South African Participation” 297-307.

Stephen R. Wenn and Scott G. Martyn, “Juan Antonio Samaranch’s Score Sheet: Revue Generation and the Olympic Movement, 1980-2001” 309-323.

Tim Elcombe, “Olympic Ideals: Pragmatic method and the Future of the Games” 325-333.

Mark Dyreson, “‘To Construct a better and More Peaceful World’ or ‘War Minus the Shooting’?: The Olympic Movement’s Second Century” 335-349.

Works Cited in Part II: 351-358.

1. Mark Golden, Sport and Society in Ancient Greece, Cambridge, 1998.

2. See John F. Miller “Triumphus in Palatio” AJP 121 (2000) 409-422 for further discussion of Nero’s procession into Rome after his return from Greece (with bibliography).


Summer Olympics Games List – All Olympics Games

The complete Olympics Games List since the first Summer Olympics is given below :

The first time Archery involved in the Olympics is in the year 1900 and is been contested in 16 Olympiads. South Korea won most gold medals in Archery in the history of the Olympics. They bagged 23 gold medals.

Involvement Years: 1900-1908, 1920, since 1972.

Athletics is been contested in every Summer Olympics right from 1896 to date. There is a large number of events under athletics categorizing men and women. The USA dominated this sport with 395 gold medals in the Olympics.

Involvement Years: Since 1896 (all years).

The sport Badminton had made its debut in 1992 Olympiads in Barcelona, Spain. There is a total of 5 events in the badminton with China has the most number of gold medals with a tally of 18.

Involvement Years: Since 1992.

Baseball is first included in the 1992 Olympiad till 2008. Then IOC voted out the sport for the next 2 Olympiads but will be revived in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Cuba has won the most number of gold medals i.e. 3.

Involvement Years: 1992-2008, 2020(scheduled).

Basketball had its debut in 1936 since then it is been contested in every Olympiad. The USA has a sheer dominance in the game in the Olympics with 23 golds to its name.

Involvement Years: Since 1936

Basque Pelota

Only in the 1900 Olympics, the sport Basque Pelota is been contested were only 2 teams took part in it – France and Spain. Latter has won the match. The score is unknown.

Involvement Years: 1900.

Boxing had made its debut in 1904 in the Olympics and is been contested in every Olympics to date. In 1912 it was not a part of the Olympics in Sweden. The USA has won the most number of gold medals i.e. 50.

Involvement Years: 1904-1908, since 1920.

Canoeing and Kayaking

This sport has made its debut in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and since then it has been a part of every Summer Olympics. It is Germany which has the most number of gold medals i.e. 32.

Involvement Years: Since 1936.

The cricket tournament has been organized only in the 1900 Olympics with only two teams participating in it. Those two are Great Britain and France. Great Britain won the match by 158 runs and won the gold.

Involvement Years: 1900.

Croquet has been contested only in the 1900 Olympics where every participant was French.

Involvement Years: 1900.

Cycling is been featured in every Olympiad right from the birth of it. France has 41 gold medals to its name in the Olympics which is most by any nation.

Involvement Years: Since 1896 (all years).

Diving had its debut in 1904 Olympics in St. Louis and is been contesting in every Olympiad since then. The USA has the most number of Gold medals with a number of 49.

Involvement Years: Since 1904.

It had its debut in the 1900 Paris Olympics but not been a part of the 1904 and 1908 Olympics but got its way back from 1912 Olympics and is featured in every Olympiad since then. Germany has bagged 25 gold medals which are the highest in any country.

Involvement Years: 1900, Since 1912.

Fencing has featured in every Olympics and Italy has the highest number of gold medals to its name i.e. 49.

Involvement Years: Since 1896 (all years).

Field Hockey

The Field Hockey had made its debut in the 1908 London Olympics but the world didn’t witness the hockey tournament in 1912 and 1924 Summer Olympics. From 1924 it became the Olympic sport and has featured in every Olympics. India has been the most dominant side of the tournament with 8 gold medals.

Involvement Years: 1908, 1920, Since 1928.

Football is included in the Olympics in 1900 and removed in the 1932 Olympics but has featured in every Summer Olympic Games. The USA women have the most number of gold medals (4) and Hungary and Great Britain have the most in men i.e. 3.

Involvement Years: 1900-1928, since 1936.

Golf has been featured only in three Summer Olympic Games i.e. in 1900, 1904 and 2016. The USA has the edge over all other nations with 3 gold medals to its name.

Involvement Years: 1900, 1904, 2016.

Gymnastics has its presence in every Summer Olympics right from the inaugural Summer Olympics 1896. The Soviet Union has the most number of Gold medals with 72.

Involvement Years: Since 1896 (all years).

The Handball was introduced to the Olympics in 1936 and became an Olympic sport since the 1972 Olympic Games. The Soviet Union has the highest number of the tally of medals with 4 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze.

Involvement Years: 1936, since 1972.

Jeu De Paume

The tournament of Jeu De Paume was contested only once in the Summer Olympics i.e. is in the 1908 Olympics. Only 2 nations- Great Britain and the USA have participated in it. The latter bagged gold and the former has to be satisfied with a silver and a bronze.

Involvement Years: 1908.

Judo made its debut in the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics but was removed in the next Olympics. As a matter of fact, from 1972, it became an Olympiad sport in every Olympics. Japan has the highest number of 39 in terms of gold medals.

Involvement Years: 1964, since 1972.

The sport Lacrosse has featured only 2 times in Olympics i.e. in 1904 and 1908. Both times Canada has won the gold having only a single event of men.

Involvement Years: 1904 & 1908.

Modern Pentathlon

Modern Pentathlon was first introduced in the 1912 Olympics and since then it has been an Olympiad sport for every Summer Olympics. Hungary won the most number of gold medals with a tally of 9.

Involvement Years: Since 1912.

Polo was introduced in the 1900 Olympic Games but has been in and out of the Olympics for the years. It has featured in five Olympiads with only one event of men. Great Britain has greater number of medals with 2 golds, 3 silver, and 1 bronze.

Involvement Years: 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924, 1936.

Rackets were the part of 1908 Summer Olympics only and were removed since then. Great Britain has all the participants contested in this sport.

Involvement Years: 1908.

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic Gymnastics has been a part of the Summer Olympics since 1984 and still is an Olympiad sport.

Involvement Years: Since 1984.

Roque was contested only once in the Olympics history which was in 1904. All participants were from the USA.

Involvement Years: 1904.

Rowing had its debut in the 1900 Olympic Games and since then is the part of every Summer Olympiad. The USA has the most number of medals with 33 gold, 32 silver, and 24 bronze.

Involvement Years: Since 1900.

Rugby Union

Rugby made its debut in the 1900 Olympic Games and featured only in 5 Olympiads. The USA has the most number of gold medals with a number of 2.

Involvement Years: 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924.

Rugby Sevens

Rugby Sevens was introduced in the recent 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. There were 2 events comprising of men and women have been contested in which Fiji and Australia won the tournament respectively.

Involvement Years: Since 2016.

Sailing has been the part of the Olympics from the 1896 Olympiads But due to bad weather conditions, it got canceled. Since 1900 except in 1904, every Olympics has seen Sailing in the Olympiad games. Great Britain has 28 gold medals to its name which is most by any nation.

Involvement Years: 1896-1900, since 1908.

Except at 1904 and 1928 Olympic Games, Shooting was part of every Summer Olympics. The USA has bagged the most number of golds (54) in the medal tally.

Involvement Years: 1896-1900, 1908-1924, since 1932.

Softball has been a part of the Summer Olympics from 1996 to 2008 but was removed from the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games but going to reintroduce in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The USA has the most number of gold medals (3).

Involvement Years: 1996-2008, 2020 (scheduled).

Swimming has been the part of every Summer Olympic Games with the total events of 34. The USA has 246 golds to its name which is the highest.

Involvement Years: Since 1896 (all years).

Synchronized Swimming

Synchronized swimming is a women sport that is added in the Olympics from 1984 having 2 events. Russian women have dominated the sport with 10 golds to their name.

Involvement Years: Since 1984.

Table Tennis

Table Tennis has been added as an Olympic sport from 1988 consisting of 5 events combining men and women. China has dominance over every other nation with 28 golds.

Involvement Years: Since 1988.

Taekwondo became the Olympic sport from the 2000 Summer Olympics and has been the part of every Summer Olympics. South Korea has the most golds to its name (12).

Involvement Years: Since 2000.

Tennis was a part of the Summer Olympics from 1896 to 1924 until it go dropped till the 1984 Olympics. Since the 1988 Olympics, it has been the part of the Olympic Games. The USA has the most number of gold medals (21).

Involvement Years: 1896-1924, since 1988.

The trampoline has been added to the Olympics since the 2000 Sydney Olympics with 2 events of one man and women.

Involvement Years: Since 2000.

Triathlon had made its debut in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and since then has been a part of every Summer Olympics. Great Britain and Switzerland have a combined share of the highest number of medals.

Involvement Years: Since 2000.

Tug of War was introduced in 1900 Paris games and was continued till 1920. It’s recognized as a team event with only a single event of men. Great Britain has the most number of Golds (2).

Involvement Years: 1900-1920.

Volleyball has made its debut in the 1964 Olympics and since then it’s been part of every Summer Olympic Games. The Soviet Union has the most number of golds to its name. They have bagged 7 golds.

Involvement Years: Since 1964.

Water Motorsports

Water Motorsports has been conducted only once in the Olympics in 1908. Great Britain won 2 gold medals followed by France with 1 gold medal.

Involvement Years: 1908.

Water Polo has been a part of every Olympic Games since 1900. Hungary has the most number of gold medals in the competition.

Involvement Years: Since 1900.

Weightlifting

Weightlifting has featured since 1896 Olympics but got removed in three Olympiads since then. The Soviet Union has won 39 golds which are most by any nation.

Involvement Years: 1896, 1904, since 1920.

Except in the 1900 Olympic Games, Wrestling has appeared in every Summer Olympics having a total number of 18 events. The Soviet Union has the most gold medals. They have 62 to their name.


Olympic Games top ten medal winners

10. Usain Bolt JAM athletics

The first international notion of Usain Bolt came at the 2002 World Junior Championships when he won the 200 meter event. At his first participation at the 2004 Olympics, he failed to get out of the early rounds. In his breakout season 2008, at the famous Grand Prix in New York, Bolt broke the 100-meter world record, recording 9.72, setting him up as a favorite for the sprint event at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Along with Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt was the star of the Beijing Games, in which he won three gold medals. His first gold came in 100 meters, winning with ease in a world record time of 9.69. He added golds in the 200 meters, and the 4×100 meters relay, also in world record-breaking times.

London 2012 was just confirmation of his status as an icon of track & field athletics when Bolt became the first athlete to win 3 Olympic gold medals at two consecutive Olympics. Bolt then repeated this feat at the following 2013 and 2015 World Championships and established himself as the greatest sprinter of all time.

Usain Bolt competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, again winning the sprint triple. The final result seemed to give him nine gold medals, equaling the fearsome Finnish distance runner Paavo Nurmi and legendary Carl Lewis. However, shortly before Rio, Bolt’s teammate on the 2008 relay was revealed to have a positive doping test in Beijing, consequently, this left the great Jamaican sprinter at a total of eight Olympic gold medals.

9. Matt Biondi USA swimming

The three-time Olympian Matt Biondi's total of 11 Olympic medals in swimming equals the Olympic record set by Mark Spitz in 1968-72. Biondi first competed at the 1984 Olympic Games, qualifying for the 4 x 100-meter freestyle, after surprising fourth place at the U.S. trials. In his freshman year at UC Berkley, Biondi was a member of the university's water polo and swimming team. At the Los Angeles Olympics, Biondi swam the third leg of the relay, and thanks to his decisive 49.67-second split time in the final, the U.S. won the gold medal in Olympic and World Record time in front of Australia.

His peak came at the Seoul 1988 Games when he attempted to match Spitz's Munich performance of seven gold medals. Biondi won seven medals but failed to win seven golds. Although he won five golds, he finished second in the 100-meter butterfly and third in the 200-meter freestyle.

Barcelona 1992 saw him winning two more gold medals in the relays and an additional silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle.

During his swimming career, Matt Biondi set seven individual world records (three in the 50-meter freestyle and four in the 100-meter freestyle) and won six gold medals at the World Championships.

Nowadays, he teaches philosophy and algebra and is very active in the L.A. county master's swimmers community.

8. Jenny Thompson USA swimming

United States' Jenny Thompson, with 12 medals, has won more swimming medals and gold medals than any woman in Olympic history.

All of her eight gold medals came in relays, which was always the point of frustration for the talented American swimmer. In Thompson's four participation at the games, her only individual medals were silver in the Barcelona 1992 100-freestyle and a bronze in the same event at Sydney 2000.

While attending Columbia Medical School,Thompson came out of retirement and made the US team, winning two relay silver medals at Athens 2004.

Among female Olympians, Thompson holds third place as the most successful woman Olympian.

After retiring, Thompson became a physician specializing in pediatric anesthesiology.

7. Sawao Kato JPN artistic gymnastics

Japan's Sawao Kato record of eight gold medals in his three appearances at the Olympics still stands as the most significant achievement in men's gymnastics.

Kato was a member of the winning all-around team in 1968, 1972, and 1976 and also won the individual title on the first two occasions, but he had to settle for a silver medal in 1976, behind the great Soviet gymnast Nikolay Andryanov. His other gold medals came in the individual floor exercises (1968) and the individual parallel bars (1972, 1976).

Strangely, Kato never won an individual World champion title of any kind at the World Championships, but he was member of the winning Japanese team in 1974.

In 2001, Sawao Kato was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

6. Birgit Fischer-Schmidt GER canoe sprint

Birgit Fischer-Schmidt of Germany is considered the greatest woman canoeist of all time. Her total of eight Olympic gold medals and 27 World Championships golds still stand as one of the most remarkable career achievements in all sports history.

Fischer-Schmidt is also praised for the longevity of her Olympic career success, spanning 24 years in between her first (Moscow 1980) and her last gold medal (Athens 2004).

In 2008, she was inducted into the German Sports Hall of Fame.

Nowadays, an avid photographer, Birgit Fischer-Schmidt, also runs a kayak school in her birthplace of Brandenburg.

5. Carl Lewis USA athletics

The four-time Olympian Carl Lewis is an American track-and-field athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals during the 1980s and ’90s.

Lewis qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in 1980 but did not compete because of the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Games. At the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, his four victories (100 meters, 200 meters, 4×100 meters relay, long jump) matched the record set by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympic Games.

Atlanta 1996 saw Lewis ending his career after he was the surprising qualifier at the U.S. trials, equaling another record, this time of Al Oerter, another U.S. track and field athlete, in winning the same Olympic event four times consecutively, in the long jump, respectively.

Despite his performances, Lewis never achieved great popularity among fans in the United States, yet many athletes credit Lewis for increasing the prize and sponsorship money in the sport.

4. Mark Spitz USA swimming

High expectations surrounded the young 18-year old Californian, Mark Spitz, before Mexico 1968 games. He won two golds at these games but failed to succeed in the individual events.

This failure motivated the American, and he set for a personal quest at the following games in Munich 1972. And what a quest it was, winning seven gold medals all in World record times, setting an Olympic record for the number of gold medals at one edition of the games. Until Beijing 2008 and the phenomenal performance of Michael Phelps in China's capital.

[email protected] laid down the first challenge. Hey @caelebdressel I know you will be breaking records at the Tokyo #Olympics but let’s see your butterfly with the cup. pic.twitter.com/tTZncpUYit

— Mark Spitz (@markspitzusa) August 14, 2020

In 1991 at 40 years of age, the swimming world witnessed his comeback in the competitive world for a brief time, with Mark Spitz going for the U.S. trials, with the idea of competing at Barcelona 1992. Unfortunately, due to his age and the high level of his competitors, he failed in his intention, which was the unfortunate end of his emblematic swimming career.

3. Paavo Nurmi FIN athletics

The legendary Finnish distance runner Paavo Nurmi was an Olympic legend whose commitment to a detailed training schedule and incredible sense for pace judgment brought a new dimension to distance running in his era. Between 1920 and 1928, he recorded nine Olympic gold medals and three individual silver medals during two Olympiad periods.

His medals came in from middle distance to long-distance events: 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters (team), 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, steeplechase, and cross-country. In 1932, for alleged professionalism, Nurmi missed the chance to add the 1932 marathon title, for which he was one of the favorites, and the chance to complete his list of Olympic successes. He continued to be banned from international competition, a decision that left him angered for the rest of his life. However, he returned to the Olympic arena when he carried the torch into the Opening Ceremony at his home country's Olympics in Helsinki. The incomparable "Flying Finn" set 22 official and 13 unofficial world records.

2. Larisa Latynina URS artistic gymnastics

Until the London Olympics in 2012 and the appearance of Michael Phelps, the Russian female gymnast Larysa Latynina was the athlete with the most Olympic medals won in total - a total of 18, nine gold, five silver, and four bronze medals. She is a three-time Olympian with participation at the Olympic Games in Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960, and Tokyo 1964. After London 2012, she was "replaced" on the all-time list by Michael Phelps with 22 Olympic medals.

Her coach was the famous Alexander Myshakov, who was also the coach of another famous Soviet gymnast, Olympic medalist Boris Shaklin.

After she retired from the competition, she became the Russian national team gymnastics coach.

In 1998 Larisa Latynina was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

1. Michael Phelps USA swimming

Michael Phelps is by far the most successful athlete in the history of the Olympic Games.

Interestingly, Phelps has more than double the medals from Latynina, Finnish athlete Pavo Nurmi. Most notably for this whole story, Mark Spitz, a fellow countryman and Olympian and main competitor in the GOAT swimming race.

It has long been thought that no one will break Mark Spitz's record of seven golds at the Olympic Games until Beijing 2008 when Phelps won eight!

His first Olympic experience was in Sydney in 2000, at the age of 15, which broke the record when it comes to the youngest member of the American team.

He was closest to the podium in the 200-meter butterfly, in which he finished fifth. His absolute domination will start at the next edition of the games.

Phelps won six gold and two bronze medals at Athens 2004 and continued raising the bar at Beijing 2008, setting a record, which probably no one will ever be able to break.


From 1912 to 1948, Art Competitions Were Part of the Olympics

French aristocrat and educationalist Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin (seated, at left) was the man primarily responsible for reviving the ancient Olympic Games. As the founder of the International Olympic Committee, Coubertin spearheaded the planning efforts for the 1896 Athens Games and guided the Olympic movement until he retired as IOC president in 1925.

Coubertin’s vision for the modern Olympics was only partly realized with the Athens Games. In the ensuing years, he devoted himself to reestablishing art competitions—a staple of the Games in ancient Greece—as part of the quadrennial Olympiad. Coubertin felt strongly that art was as much a part of the Olympic ideal as athletics. As documented in Richard Stanton’s thoroughly researched book on the subject, The Forgotten Olympic Art Competitions, Coubertin once wrote: “Deprived of the aura of the art contests, Olympic games are only world championships.”

Patience is a Virtue

The second and third modern Olympiads were held in Paris and St. Louis, respectively, and neither one featured art competitions. Coubertin wanted the Olympic movement to develop some momentum before he altered the format of the Games. In an effort to appease Greek officials who argued unsuccessfully that Athens should serve as the permanent site of the modern Olympiad, Coubertin and the IOC agreed to let Athens host an interim Games in 1906. Coubertin didn’t attend and instead used the time to organize a conference to advance his idea.

The Paris Conference

Coubertin outlined his plan for the reestablishment of art competitions before an audience of about 60 artists and dignitaries, many of whom had been invited to Paris based on recommendations from his fellow IOC members. “We are to reunite in the bonds of legitimate wedlock a long-divorced couple – Muscle and Mind,” said Coubertin, who proposed five competitions in architecture, sculpture, painting, music and literature. All of the art submitted in this “Pentathlon of the Muses” was to be inspired by sport. Coubertin’s proposal to add art competitions to the program at the 1908 Games was unanimously approved.

Disappointment in London and Swedish Dissent

Rome was awarded the 1908 Games, but Italy’s economic instability, exacerbated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906, led the IOC to relocate the Games to London 18 months before the opening ceremonies were scheduled to begin. Officials from London’s Royal Academy of the Arts had the unenviable task of organizing the art competitions on an accelerated schedule. Despite their best efforts, which included establishing the first rules for the events, the art competitions were not staged in 1908.

The IOC met in Luxembourg in June of 1910 to discuss plans for inaugurating the art competitions at the 1912 Games, which were to be held in Stockholm. Citing concerns over judging the competitions, Colonel Victor Balck of Sweden announced the Swedish Organizing Committee’s desire to renounce the competitions entirely. Coubertin fired back that the inclusion of art competitions at the Stockholm Games was not up for debate. The art competitions would be added in 1912, whether Sweden’s organizers liked the idea or not.

Final Preparations and Rules

Opening Ceremonies, 1912/Getty Images

Sweden remained uncooperative in the months leading up to the opening ceremonies, so Coubertin took it upon himself to promote the art competitions and invite artists to participate in the Games. The rules for the five events, which were far less restrictive than the original guidelines drafted for the 1908 Games, were published in September 1911. Among them: All works presented were required to be original and directly inspired by the idea of sport. Size didn’t matter, except for sculptors, who were required to submit “small models not larger than eighty centimeters in height, width, and length.” While there were no language restrictions, the jury—a multinational collection of individuals assembled by Coubertin—asked that all manuscripts submitted in a language other than German, English, Spanish, French or Italian be accompanied by a translation to French, English, or German.

Surprise Winner

Coubertin himself submitted an ode in the Literature competition under a pseudonym and won the gold medal, though it’s unclear how his triumph went undetected until years later. Some have suggested that Coubertin awarded the medal to himself, but Stanton found no evidence in his research to support that idea. The judges’ glowing review of Coubertin’s “Ode to Sport” read, in part: “It emanates as directly as is possible from the idea of sport. It praises sport in a form that to the ear is very literary and very sporting.”

Limited Participation

A mere 33 artists signed the on-site register in Stockholm, but Stanton notes that there were entrants who did not attend the Games. Still, participation in the first modern art competitions was minimal. In fact, the only event in which the judges awarded a medal other than gold was Sculpture. In every other event, the judges decided that the non-winning entries were not deserving of a medal. Alphonse Laverriere and Eugene Monod of Switzerland took top honors in the Architecture event for their design of a modern Olympic stadium. The gold medal in music was awarded to Italy’s Ricardo Barthelemy for his “Triumphal Olympic March.”

In his review of the Games, Coubertin expressed his disappointment that Sweden’s organizers had failed to incorporate Barthelemy’s winning entry in the official ceremonies, but Coubertin was mostly pleased. Muscle and mind were united again.


The Olympic and Paralympic Record

The first modern Summer Games were held in Athens, the home of the ancient Olympics. Fourteen nations took part, with Greece winning the marathon race in their home country.

The National Archives’ collections on the modern Olympics begin here, with dispatches from the Minister in Athens.

We also hold images of sporting events and advertising posters from this time.

The second modern Summer Games took place during the Exposition Universelle, France’s World’s Fair. Sporting events took place over five months as part of the Fair, which became the main focus.

Women also competed in the modern Olympic Games for the first time.

The National Archives holds records relating to the Paris Exhibition, as well as images of athletes from this time.

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Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded for first, second and third place for the first time in 1904.

As in Paris, the Games were not the main focus of the 1904 Olympics, as they were held over four and a half months during the Saint Louis World's Fair.

The National Archives holds records related to the St Louis Exhibition, as well as sporting illustrations from the time.

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The 1908 Games were held in London at short notice, having originally been planned for Rome. For the first time, a special stadium was built to host the Games.

The marathon race was organised so that the finish line was below the royal box in the stadium.

The National Archives holds a selection of photographs of the Games, as well as plans for the marathon race.

All five continents took part for the first time in the 1912 Games. It was delivered efficiently using the latest technology of the time, including photo finishes and a public address system.

The National Archives holds records relating to the communications costs of the 1912 Olympics.

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Following the outbreak of the First World War, the Berlin Summer Games were cancelled.

The National Archives holds many images of the First World War, as well as records relating to British Army participation in the riding team for the planned Summer Games in Berlin.

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These were the first Games after the end of the First World War, awarded to Belgium to honour victims of the war and acknowledging the suffering of the Belgian people. The Olympic flag bearing the iconic five rings was raised and doves were released as a symbol of peace.

The National Archives holds a record related to the disposal of surplus government property and accommodation of British representatives in Antwerp.

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Fourty four national Olympic Committees took part in the Games in 1924, a major success for Paris the second time around following the Games in 1900. The Games had become a popular major event by this time, topped off with the first formal closing ceremony.

The National Archives holds a selection of records related to the 1924 Paris Olympics, including British Army participation and the attendance of Prince Henry at the Games.

The Amsterdam Olympic Games saw the first lighting of the Olympic flame. The Opening Ceremony was led by Greece, with the host nation last, a tradition which has continued ever since.

The number of female competitors increased in 1928 and Asian competitors gained medals for the first time.

The National Archives holds records related to the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, as well as records generally related to Amsterdam for this period.

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The 1932 Olympics took place during the Great Depression and fewer countries and athletes took part than in the previous Games. However, the standard and achievement of participants was high, with Mildred Ella 'Babe' Didrikson setting new world records for 80m hurdles and javelin. Despite the economic depression, a grand stadium was built attracting huge crowds of spectators.

The National Archives holds a selection of records related to the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

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The Nazi regime attempted to use the 1936 Games for propaganda purposes, including white racial superiority. This attempt failed. The most popular athlete of the Games was African American Jesse Owens, winning four gold medals in sprinting, relay and long jump.

The National Archives holds a selection of records related to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, from the exploitation of Olympics for Nazi propaganda and the persecution of Jews, to the extent of participation and exclusion of various parties.

The 1940 Summer Games was cancelled following the start of the Second World War in 1939. This had been due to take place first in Tokyo, Japan and then in Helsinki, Finland.

The National Archives’ collections on the cancelled Olympics include proposals for Helsinki and the sale of British horses for use in the Games.

The 13th modern Summer Games, due to be held in London, were cancelled during the Second World War.

The National Archives’ collections on the cancelled 1944 Games cover the burial of the heart of the founder of the modern Olympics, and proposals to host the Games in London or Athens.

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The 1948 Summer Games were held in London at short notice. Despite rationing continuing in the UK, the Games were hailed as a success and triumph over hardship.

These were the first Games to be shown on television, for the lucky few who then owned TV sets of their own.

The National Archives’ collections on the 1948 Games are extensive, covering planning, hosting, accommodation and financial arrangements.

The 1952 Games were held in Helsinki, following the earlier cancellation in 1940.

Israel and the Soviet Union competed in the Games for the first time, with particularly successful performances by Soviet women gymnasts. Women competed alongside men in equestrian mixed events for the first time.

The National Archives’ collections on the 1952 Games include records on Soviet and Chinese representation at the Games.

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The Games were hosted in the Southern hemisphere, in Melbourne, for the first time.

Strict quarantine laws meant that foreign horses could not be brought in to Australia to compete, so equestrian events were held in Stockholm, Sweden.

The National Archives holds historical images of Melbourne.

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The Rome Summer Games made the most of ancient sites and history including the Basilica of Maxentius, Caracalla Baths and triumphal arch of Constantine.

Paralympic athletes joined the Games in the same city for the first time and Rome is now recognised as the first Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Olympics of 1960 saw the first major appearance of the boxer Cassius Clay, who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali and became one of the best-known boxers of all time.

The National Archives’ collections include coverage of the Games, participation, naming of Republic of Ireland, and involvement of Korea and Formosa.

Tokyo was the first Asian nation to host the Games. The Olympic flame was carried by Yoshinori Sakai, who was born on 6 August 1945, the same day the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima, as a symbol of peace and to honour the victims.

The first Olympic fair play trophy was awarded to the Swedish yachtsmen after they abandoned the race to help rescue two fellow competitors whose boat had sunk.

The National Archives’ collections covering the Tokyo Games include publicity operations, participation of North and South Korea, and German and colonial representation.

The 19th modern Summer Games were held in Mexico City, Mexico and Tel Aviv, Israel. Mexico declined the invitation to host the Paralympics, due to technical difficulties, and Israel stepped in to host. The 1968 Paralympics saw 750 athletes from 29 countries competing.

Meanwhile, the high altitude in Mexico City saw new world records in short distance events, with poorer performances in endurance races.

The National Archives’ collections on the Games cover participation, government assistance and grants, sporting and cultural aspects, and Rhodesian participation.

The 20th modern Summer Games were the largest to date at the time, but were overshadowed by terrorist attacks by the Black September Group who held hostage and killed the team representing Israel. The Games were paused then resumed, to honour those who lost their lives and to continue the spirit of the Olympic movement.

The National Archives’ collections range from records on financial arrangements and participation in the Games, to coverage of the terrorist attacks on athletes representing Israel.

The 1976 Games included major achievements by Alberto Juantorena of Cuba winning both the 400m and 800m, along with seven perfect scores in gymnastics from Nadia Comeneci of Romania. The Paralympics included 40 countries with 1,657 athletes.

Some countries withdrew from the Games in protest at the participation of South Africa and the then Apartheid regime, as well as the fact that New Zealand rugby had toured in South Africa.

The National Archives’ collections cover planning of the Games.

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The 22nd modern Summer Games were held in Moscow, Soviet Union and Arnhem, Netherlands. There was a boycott, led by the United States, in protest at Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the year before.

The Paralympics was hosted at the Papendal National Sports Centre in Arnhem, having originally been due to take place in Russia 42 countries took part with a total of 1,973 athletes.

The National Archives’ collections range from government policy on the Games relating to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to coverage of the Games, Cabinet conclusions, official and ministerial Olympic groups and participation.

For the first time, the Olympics was hailed as a financial success and Los Angeles became a model for future Games. The Paralympics were held in both New York, USA and Stoke Mandeville, UK.

The National Archives’ collections on Los Angeles 1984 covers the Games and Cultural Olympiad, along with the proposal to hold the 1984 Games in London Docklands. We also hold historical images of New York.

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Despite boycotts by some countries including North Korea and Nicaragua, the 1988 Games was widely thought to provide the impetus for South Korea to move towards democracy.

The 1988 Paralympics were the largest and best facilitated so far, giving opportunities for a new generation of Paralympic athletes to compete in the main Olympic venues.

The National Archives holds records relating to the bid to host the 1988 Games and Cultural Olympiad in Britain.

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Following political changes including the end of Apartheid and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Olympic Games had no boycotts for the first time since 1972.

The 1992 Games saw a controversial reduction in the number of Paralympic athletes and events, though some believed that this raised the level of competition with different abilities competing together. There were outstanding performances from Paralympic athletes in many events including swimming and athletics.

The UK also applied to host the 1992 Olympics in Birmingham, but was unsuccessful. The National Archives holds a record related to the bid and the proposed ‘Birmingham Olympic Express’.


Olympic sports [ edit | edit source ]

Currently, the Olympic program consists of 35 different sports, 53 disciplines and more than 400 events. The Summer Olympics includes 28 sports with 38 disciplines and the Winter Olympics includes 7 sports with 15 disciplines. ⎷] Nine sports were on the original Olympic programme in 1896: athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, weightlifting, shooting, swimming, tennis, and wrestling. If the 1896 rowing events had not been cancelled due to bad weather, they would have been included in this list as well. ⎸]

At the most recent Winter Olympics, 15 disciplines in seven sports were featured. Of these, cross country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, Ski Jumping, and speed skating have been featured on the programme at all Winter Olympics. In addition, figure skating and ice hockey also have been contested as part of the Summer Games before the introduction of separate Winter Olympics.

In recent years, the IOC has added several new sports to the programme to attract attention from young spectators. Examples of such sports include snowboarding and beach volleyball. The growth of the Olympics also means that some less popular (modern pentathlon) or expensive (white water canoeing) sports may lose their place on the Olympic programme. The IOC decided to discontinue baseball and softball beginning in 2012. Cricket and Rugby union used to be in the Olympic Games but were discontinued a revival is now seen as possible.

Rule 48.1 of the Olympic Charter requires that there be a minimum of 15 Olympic sports at each Summer Games. Following its 114th Session (Mexico 2002), the IOC also decided to limit the programme of the Summer Games to a maximum of 28 sports, 301 events, and 10,500 athletes. The Olympic sports are defined as those governed by the International Federations listed in Rule 46 of the Olympic Charter. A two-thirds vote of the IOC is required to amend the Charter to promote a Recognised Federation to Olympic status and therefore make the sports it governs eligible for inclusion on the Olympic programme. Rule 47 of the Charter requires that only Olympic sports may be included in the programme.

The IOC reviews the Olympic programme at the first Session following each Olympiad. A simple majority is required for an Olympic sport to be included in the Olympic programme. Under the current rules, an Olympic sport not selected for inclusion in a particular Games remains an Olympic sport and may be included again later with a simple majority. At the 117th IOC Session, 26 sports were included in the programme for London 2012.

Until 1992, the Olympics also often featured demonstration sports. The objective was for these sports to reach a larger audience the winners of these events are not official Olympic champions. These sports were sometimes popular only in the host nation, but internationally known sports have also been demonstrated. Some demonstration sports eventually were included as full-medal events.

Amateurism and professionalism [ edit | edit source ]

The ethos of English public schools greatly influenced Pierre de Coubertin. The public schools had a deep involvement in the development of many team sports including all British codes of football as well as cricket and hockey.

The English public schools of the second half of the 19th century had a major influence on many sports. The schools contributed to the rules and influenced the governing bodies of those sports out of all proportion to their size. They subscribed to the Ancient Greek and Roman belief that sport formed an important part of education, an attitude summed up in the saying: mens sana in corpore sano – a sound mind in a healthy body. In this ethos, taking part has more importance than winning, because society expected gentlemen to become all-rounders and not the best at everything. Class prejudice against "trade" reinforced this attitude. The house of the parents of a typical public schoolboy would have a tradesman's entrance, because tradesmen did not rank as the social equals of gentlemen. Apart from class considerations there was the typically English concept of "fairness," in which practicing or training was considered as tantamount to cheating it meant that you considered it more important to win than to take part. Those who practiced a sport professionally were considered to have an unfair advantage over those who practiced it merely as a "hobby."

In Coubertin's vision, athletes should be gentlemen. Initially, only amateurs were considered such professional athletes were not allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. A short-lived exception was made for professional fencing instructors. ⎹] This exclusion of professionals has caused several controversies throughout the history of the modern Olympics.

1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon champion, Jim Thorpe, was disqualified when it was discovered that he played semi-professional baseball prior to winning his medals. He was restored as champion on compassionate grounds by the IOC in 1983. Swiss and Austrian skiers boycotted the 1936 Winter Olympics in support of their skiing teachers, who were not allowed to compete because they earned money with their sport and were considered professionals.

It gradually became clear to many that the amateurism rules had become outdated, not least because the self-financed amateurs of Western countries often were no match for the state-sponsored "full-time amateurs" of Eastern bloc countries. Nevertheless, the IOC, led by President Avery Brundage, held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism. In the 1970s, after Brundage left, amateurism requirements were dropped from the Olympic Charter, leaving decisions on professional participation to the international federation for each sport. This switch was perhaps best exemplified by the American Dream Team, composed of well-paid NBA stars, which won the Olympic gold medal in basketball in 1992. As of 2004, the only sport in which no professionals compete is boxing (though even this requires a definition of amateurism based on fight rules rather than on payment, as some boxers receive cash prizes from their National Olympic Committees) in men's football (soccer), the number of players over 23 years of age is limited to three per team.

Advertisement regulations are still very strict, at least on the actual playing field, although "Official Olympic Sponsors" are common. Athletes are only allowed to have the names of clothing and equipment manufacturers on their outfits. The sizes of these markings are limited.


Alternative Realities

Earth-10005

On Earth-10005 In the year 1977, Peter Maximoff breaks 8 world records in track and field events, sparking review of mutant participation in athletics. Athletics officials adopt a genetic testing policy in partnership with Trask Industries in which no athletes carrying the mutant X-gene can compete in professional sporting events. This occurs following the investigation of Peter Maximoff. ⎜]

Earth-1610

On Earth-1610 Clint Barton represented the USA in the archery. ⎝]

Earth-904913

On Earth-904913Clint Barton aka Hawkeye was a former Olympic Archer, turned thief, whose brother is in debt to Count Nefaria. ⎞]

Earth-148611

On Earth-148611 Gatto di Sangue was a gymnast who represented Italy in the Olympics. Her athletic ability was increased tenfold by the White Event. ⎟]


10 Sports Cut From The Olympics

More than a century after being cut from the official roster, golf is making a triumphant return to the Summer Olympics in Rio. Rugby, too—which hasn't been on the program since 1924—is an Olympic sport again. The International Olympic Committee has slashed a number of sports over the years, not all of which have gotten a second chance at gold medal glory. Here are 10 of them.

1. TUG OF WAR

Unlike some of other discontinued Olympic sports, tug of war had a fair amount of staying power it made the program for every Olympics between 1900 and 1920. The sport was played in pretty much the same way you remember it from your grade-school field days, but it was also a magnet for Olympic controversies.

The 1904 gold medal-winning American squad was ostensibly representing the Milwaukee Athletic Club, which was terrific until further research established that the team was actually composed of ringers recruited from Chicago. Scandal struck again at the 1908 Games when the American squad protested that the police boots worn by the British pullers from the Liverpool Police team were equipped with illegal cleats for extra traction. When the protest failed, the American pullers left the Games in a huff. All told, the British teams grabbed five medals to the Americans' three before the sport fell off the program following the 1920 Games.

2. CRICKET

Cricket made both its Olympic debut and swan song at the second modern Games, held in 1900 in Paris. (Organizers originally wanted to have a cricket tournament at the 1896 Games, but the event didn't draw enough entries.) Things got off to a rough start when the Belgian and Dutch teams withdrew from the field prior to the start of play, leaving just a British touring team, the Devon and Somerset Wanderers, to take on the French Athletic Club Union's squad. The teams apparently weren't even aware they were playing in the Olympics they thought the two-day match was just a part of the World's Fair Paris was hosting at the time.

According to one contemporary report, the teams squared off in a cycling arena fit for 20,000 spectators but had only a dozen soldiers as an audience. The English side won the match and received silver medals and miniature Eiffel Towers for their trouble the French team got bronze medals.

Everyone returned home without knowing they had been Olympians, and it wasn't until the IOC sat down to make a comprehensive record of the Games in 1912 that the two squads received official recognition as gold and silver medalists in cricket. The sport never returned to the Games.

3. BASQUE PELOTA

The Paris Games of 1900 saw more than one sport make its sole Olympic appearance (at least officially). Basque pelota, a sport with ancient roots in which teams of two players use a curved basket to fling a ball against a wall in a racquetball-like game, made the Olympic program for Paris. Unfortunately, like cricket, participation was a bit of a downer only two teams showed up. The duo from Spain, where the sport enjoys great popularity, beat a French pair in the sole Olympic Basque pelota match to claim the gold medals. The final score of the match is lost to history.

4. CROQUET

Like cricket and Basque pelota, croquet only saw action at the 1900 Paris Games before fading into Olympic oblivion. The host Frenchmen made the most of the opportunity, though they claimed all seven medals awarded in the sport. Records are sketchy, but it would seem that across the three events, nine of the 10 competitors were French, which probably facilitated their dominance.

5. ROQUE

Give yourself 50 bonus points if you know what roque is. The sport is a croquet variant played with short mallets on a hard rolled-sand court with a wall off of which players can bank the balls. The sport's official rules tout it as "the most scientific outdoor sport in existence," but it didn't hold up so well at the Olympics. Roque debuted at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Americans swept the medals, and the sport promptly disappeared.

6. JEU DE PAUME

Jeu de paume, or "real tennis," is a tennis precursor that was originally played without racquets—players hit the ball with their hands. By the 1908 Games in London, the sport had evolved to the point where small racquets played a key role, but the largely indoor variant remained separate from what we think of as tennis, which was also played at the Games under the name "lawn tennis."

American railroad scion Jay Gould II claimed the gold, and Charles Sands, who won the gold in golf in 1900, competed but lost in the first round. "Real tennis" made a brief reappearance as a demonstration sport at the 1924 Games before fading away.

7. LACROSSE

Despite lacrosse's relative popularity in the English-speaking world, it never really caught on as an Olympic sport. It made the program in the 1904 and 1908 Games, and since only five teams combined entered the event over the two Games, every team that played won a medal. Canada won both golds and a bronze (they sent two teams in 1904), while American and British teams claimed the two silvers, respectively. Lacrosse was a demonstration sport at the 1928, 1932, and 1948 Games, but it never regained its medal status (though lacrosse players and enthusiasts are working hard to change that).

8. RACKETS

If you haven't noticed a pattern yet, it's worth pointing out that if you hosted an early set of Games, you could pretty much railroad whatever sport you wanted to onto the program to help your countrymen get medals. The rackets competition at the 1908 Games in London was no exception every single entrant was British. The sport itself is very similar to squash, which originated as an offshoot of rackets in the 19th century, and remains popular in the UK. The seven-man all-British field included John Jacob Astor V of the famed Astor family he won a gold in doubles and a bronze in singles competition.

9. POLO

Apparently the Olympics could never quite figure out how to handle polo, as it popped on and off the program throughout the first 40 years of the modern Games. Polo was a medal sport at five different Games, with competitions appearing in 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924, and 1936. Only the British team competed in all of these Games and won a total of six medals, including three gold.

10. WATER MOTORSPORTS

Motorboat racing first appeared as a demonstration sport at the 1900 Games, and in 1908 it received full medal status. Captains in three classes were set to race five laps around an eight-nautical-mile course in the only Olympic event to ever involve motors. However, the English weather didn't feel like complying and whipped up a ferocious gale. Two boats entered each class, but due to the terrible weather, boats started to fill with water, ran aground, suffered engine problems, and had to quit. As a result, only one boat finished each race, meaning that the only Olympic water motorsports medals ever handed out were gold. The British boat Gyrinus won two of the races.


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