The Summer Olympics
It’s almost time for the biggest sporting event in the world! The 2012 Summer Olympics begin on Friday in London, England, so this is a good opportunity to review some Olympic vocabulary!
London, England is hosting the Summer Olympics. The Olympic Games can also be called The Olympics. The Olympics is a noun, while Olympic is an adjective. London has hosted the Summer Olympics twice before, in 1908 & 1948.
Over 10,490 athletes from 206 countries will compete in 36 sports over 19 days (the women’s soccer competition begins on Wednesday). The events will take place in 34 different venues all over London & other parts of England. The main venue is the Olympic Stadium. This is where the Opening & Closing ceremonies will be held, as well as the athletic (track and field) events.
Any athlete who competes at the Olympics, whether or not they win a medal, is known as an Olympian or an Olympic athlete. Olympic athletes are often referred to as elite athletes. They are the best of the best, the top athletes in their sport.
An Olympic athlete competes to win a medal: gold, silver, or bronze. An athlete who wins a medal is also known as a medalist. The medalists stand on a podium to receive their medals and listen to the national anthem of the country of the gold medalist. This Olympics there are 302 events or opportunities to win a medal. For example, swimming is one sport, but there are 34 events within that one sport.
The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger). Each athlete tries his best to go faster, jump or throw higher, or be stronger than his competitors.
All athletes must qualify for the Olympics. They compete in international and national competitions to be one of the top athletes in their sport.
Athletes also try to set a record or break a record. For example, Jamaican runner Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world. He set a record of 9.58 seconds for the 100 metre race. That is the fastest time that anyone in the world has run 100 metres. No man has run 100 metres faster than that. He holds the world record. At the 2012 Olympics, he will try to break that record by running 100 metres in less than 9.58 seconds.
Of the 200+ countries taking part in this Olympics, 80 have never won a medal.
Olympic Athlete Fun Facts!
1. Canadian equestrian athlete Ian Millar will compete in his 10th Olympics! He will break the record for most Olympic appearances. Austrian sailor Hubert Raudaschl held the previous record for the most Olympic appearances (9).
2. Malaysian shooter Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi is 8 months pregnant! While she is the only pregnant woman at this Olympics, she is not the 1st pregnant women to compete at an Olympics. There have been 3 other women who competed while pregnant.
3. Canadian athlete Clara Hughes is one of only five people to have won medals at both the Summer Olympics (cycling) AND the Winter Olympics (speed-skating). She is the first and only person ever to have won multiple medals at both!
4. South African runner Oscar Pistorious is the first amputee to ever take part in the Olympics. He is missing both legs below the knee.
5. Married Australian shooters Russell and Lauryn Mark are not allowed to share a room in the Olympic Village! All athletes must sleep in male and female rooms – no exceptions!
6. South Sudanese marathon runner Guor Marial will compete without a country. He lives and trains in the U.S., but he is not a citizen so he can’t compete for the U.S. South Sudan is a new country and doesn’t have a national organizing committee, so South Sudan will not send a team to the Olympics. Guor Marial will compete, but as an independent Olympic athlete.
7. There are 5 sets of siblings competing at the Olympics!
- Marc & Pau Gasol are brothers on the Spanish basketball team
- Kazuhito, Rie, & Yusuke Tanaka are all competing in gymnastics for Japan
- Diana & Steven Lopez and competing in taekwondo for the US
- Cate & Bronte Campbell are swimmers competing for Australia
- Ian & Justyn Warner are runners competing for Canada