The Ancient Greeks created the Olympic Games as a celebration of physical health and a huge praise event for their gods. The Games fell away for many years until their revival in 1894. At this time Pierre de Coubertin, a French Pedagogue and historian, began to try to promote international camaraderie and understanding through sporting events. The very first of these events, officially called the Games of the Olympiad, was held in Athens in 1896. It only attracted 245 athletes, but was still the largest event of its kind at the time.
The Games have expanded considerably since their beginnings, incorporating many more sports, allowing females to compete, and spawning several affiliated events such as the Paralympics and the Youth Olympics. Today they are the ultimate competition for athletes around the world, and winning a gold medal at the Summer Olympics represents the pinnacle of sporting achievement.
Qualification for the Summer Olympics
Qualifications for the various sports in the games are set by the International Federations that govern each discipline. Individual sport athletes usually qualify through placing at a certain level in a major event or on their federation’s ranking list. There’s also a general rule that a maximum of 3 competitors can represent a nation in an individual competition. The most common way for a country to qualify for a team sport is to win qualifying tournaments that are held on their continent. Each continental association has a certain number of sports that they can send teams for in the Games of the Olympiad, and each nation may have only 1 team representing them per competition.
Sports Disciplines in the Games
The hundreds of events in the Summer Games are divided into 5 categories or levels of popularity, which are calculated according to 6 factors. Television viewing figures, internet popularity, public surveys, ticket requests, press coverage and number of national federations are all considered and are given weightings of 40%, 20%, 15%, 10%, 10% and 5% respectively to determine the final ranking of the event. The category that a sport is put into dictates how much of the Olympic revenue its International Federation will receive. The sports in Category A will receive the highest amounts with every successive level earning less, down to Category E. Currently Category A is comprised of gymnastics, athletics and aquatics; Category B of football (soccer), tennis, volleyball, cycling and basketball; Category C of weightlifting, archery, table tennis, badminton, shooting, boxing, rowing and judo; and Category D of canoeing, equestrian, wrestling, triathlon, fencing, taekwondo, handball, sailing and field hockey. Category E is comprised of modern pentathlon events, as well as the newly-added rugby and golf.
The Summer Olympics Today
The Games of the Olympiad now feature 300 events and over 10,000 athletes from 205 nations, from the 42 events, 245 competitors and 14 countries in those first Games of 1896. Hosting the Summer Olympics is a prestigious honour, and the cities who are chosen create dedicated facilities that are used for the Summer Paralympics in the same year and are then used for other events and purposes. Over the years there have been certain political issues and boycotts at the Games, but they have mostly been able to maintain their goals of promoting friendship and the best in humanity through striving for sporting excellence. Bettors who are interested in the Summer Olympics can also wager at the betting sites on the matches.