– THE OLYMPIC GAMES –
(This article was written in 90’s)
When the next Olympic Games begin, satellites will carry TV pictures of the opening ceremony to millions of people thousands of miles away. From their armchairs these people will be able to see their country’s athletes competing in events and maybe winning a bronze, silver or even gold medal. When we consider the size, the spectacle and the commercialism of the modem Olympic Games, it is difficult to remember that they started in Olympia in Greece in 776 BC with only one race, a sprint, for which the prize for the winner was an olive wreath. It was the birth of Olympic Marathon .
The idea of an international Olympic Games was conceived by a Frenchman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, and, appropriately, the first modern Olympic Games opened in Athens in 1896.
Nowadays, major cities compete to host the Olympic Games, not just for the honour the Games bring, but for the vast amount of profit a host country can make. The games have also become politically important. They can now be seen by nearly every country in the world and are, therefore, an ideal platform for political statements.
When Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan in 1980, many countries in the West, including Britain and the United States, bovcotted the Moscow Games. In 1984 some countries decided not to send teams to the Los Angeles Games because they felt there was not enough security . In circumstances like these, the Olympic ideal and spirit comes into question. And for athletes, there is less value in winning a gold medal if the best of the world’s athletes are not competing. The question is – how much longer will the Games survive if nations continue to use them as a political platform?
(A Boy Scout who fainted in the intense heat was the first ‘casualty’ of the 1948 Olympic Games. The temperature was in the nineties (32°C) . Source: Wikipedia)
1. What makes it possible to watch Olympic Games on TV?
2. What medals can athletes win?
3. What was the only race in the first Olympic Games?
4. What was the prize given to a winner in the first Olympic Games?
5. Who does the idea of International Olympic Games belong to?
6. Where were the first modern Olympic Games held?
7. Where do Olympic Games take place now?
8. When was Afghanistan invaded?
9. Which countries boycotted the Moscow Games?
10. Why didn’t some countries take part in Los Angeles Games?