Why Are The Olympic Games So Important To Many of Us?

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For many years, the Olympic Games have been a great part of people’s summer or winter and become the center of attention for about two weeks every four years or two years if you watch both, the summer and winter Olympics. It is the sporting event that is the most televised around the world and channels will provide you with a whole day of updates and recaps on what has happened that day at the Olympics. Cities will compete against each other to get the next hosting city for the Olympic Games although it will cost them a lot of money in order to get ready to host the Games. Why so? Why is it such a big deal for cities to host the Olympic Games and why do so many people watch them? These questions are very obvious for athletes and big sporting fans. There are many reasons why the Games are such a big deal for many people. There has been a lot of history since they first appeared, it is the most prestigious competition athletes can attend, it brings people from across the world together to share common values for two weeks and it makes people learn and discover new things about the city hosting the Games.

In fact, the first ancient Olympic Games that we can trace through historical record go back to 776 BC and it was mainly organized for Olympian gods and held in the city of Olympia (Official website of the Olympic Movement). According to the Official website of the Olympic Movement, the participants that were allowed to compete at the Olympic Games in Olympia were all Greek male citizens regardless of their social status and the winner was crowned with red ribbons tied on his head and hands as a symbol of victory and also received a palm branch. There were many great athletes that have come by the city of Olympia and that have become legends for their enormous success, staying undefeated or for breaking new records. Some of these athletes that are stated by the Official website of the Olympic Movement were Astylos of Croton, Milon of Croton who was a student of the very well known philosopher Pythagoras, Leonidas of Rhodes who was a great runner, Melankomas of Caria who won many different events at the Olympic Games and Kyniska of Sparta who became the first woman to ever win an event at the Olympics and to break the tradition of no women allowed. With that being said, we can see that history is still present in our modern Olympic Games today, and that there are always new legends that either break new records, surpass their limits or just stay undefeated for many Olympic cycles. We also crown our Olympic winners as they did back in the time but rather than just having ribbons and a palm branch, we now tie a gold, silver or bronze medal to a ribbon and put it around the winner’s neck as the crowd applauds him or her.

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Another reason why the Olympic Games are so important to many of us is because it is the ultimate competition in an athlete’s career. In fact, after the World Championships, which are usually held each year at a different place and time for each sport, come the Olympic Games, which are held every four years and which bring every sport together in one single place during a few weeks. There is no other competition in the world that brings the top athletes of each country in one city making it so much more prestigious not only to be the winner of your sport and knowing you beat every other athlete that is known to be the best in their country, but also just to be there and part of this experience and this big international event. Viewers get the opportunity to watch the best athletes compete against each other and cheer for their favorite one and also watch who becomes the best among the best. The athletes’ experience is a lot more different and emotional. Knowing from my personal Olympic experience back in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games when I represented Canada in the women’s artistic gymnastics, I was just beyond happy and ecstatic to be there with all these other amazing athletes that have worked so hard for so many years. I literally lived on adrenaline and happiness for the entire month that I spent at the Olympic Games and in the Olympic Village. The experience of just being an Olympian and being part of the Olympics and its hype is just indescribable. All I can say is “wow” and the feeling of making one of your dreams come true is one of the most amazing feeling ever. Looking back at it, I had such great memories and moments competing at the Olympics, meeting new people and going to different sporting events to cheer on my friends that competed in other disciplines. It is a very emotional experience I would say because you know you have worked so hard for so many years, gone through injuries and hard times, always been busy training and finally all that hard work pays off by qualifying and being able to participate at the most prestigious competition in the world, which is only held every four years. I cannot image how Olympic medalists must feel knowing how I felt by just being a participant. A lot of Olympic medalists become very emotional during the award ceremony because they come to the conclusion that all their dedication and hard work has finally paid off and also because they know that they are now the best among the best, which must be such an incredible feeling. This is why the Olympic Games are such a big deal and so important to many of us.

Another reason why the Olympic Games are so prestigious is that it not only brings the best athletes of each country together but also brings viewers and fans together. The whole world watches the same event at the same time of the year and people that share the same values are also brought together during this event. This brings us to the meaning of the Olympic flag and the Olympic rings. In fact, the five rings represent the five continents and they are interlaced with each other to represent the universality of Olympism and the bringing together of athletes across the world during the Olympic Games (The Olympic Museum). The Olympic Museum also explains that the five colored rings are put on a white flag because all six colors, which are blue, yellow, black, green, red and white, combined together represent all the nations. With that said, each colored ring does not represent a particular continent, but the idea behind the flag is that it contains all the colors that appear on the national flags around the world symbolizing unity and bringing every country around the world on one flag. That is the main idea of the Olympic Games, bringing every nation together in one place for an event.

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Finally, the Olympic Games are so prestigious also because there is a competition between a few cities in order to become the hosting city of an Olympic Game. When it is time to chose a city to host the next Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee selects a few cities in different countries which it thinks could host an Olympic Game and these cities try to show why they should host the next Olympics in order to win. Knowing how much it costs, how much money and sponsors are needed to host one Olympic Game, you can understand that the Olympic Games are a big deal. I come from Montreal, Canada and I know for a fact that when Montreal hosted the 1976 Olympics they got into a lot of debt. In fact, from what I know, the city of Montreal is still in debt after hosting the Olympic Games today. Why would cities spend so much money and risk being in debt? Because of the meaning behind the Olympic Games. This shows how important the Olympics are and what they mean. As I have said earlier, the Olympic flag and Olympic rings represent all the nations and the host city will bring all these nations together under one roof. The host city will also be in the spotlight for a few months and will bring lots of media and tourists, which in a way will advertise the city and help it get some revenue from hosting the Olympic Games. The city will also make history and people will remember particular cities due to the Olympics that were hosted there. In a way, the hosting city becomes a celebrity city after hosting the Olympic Games. All these reasons explain why the Olympic Games are so prestigious and important not only for athletes and big sporting fans, but also to the host cities and the viewers that are brought together for this international event.

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References:

Official website of the Olympic Movement: http://www.olympic.org/ancient-olympic-games?tab=The-athlete

The Olympic Museum: http://www.olympic.org/Documents/Reports/EN/en_report_1303.pdf

Picture 1: http://questgarden.com/97/47/3/100301103814/images/Olympic%20Truce%20Emblem.jpg

Picture 2: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-CMUxIaCKD3c/ToddD05J2QI/AAAAAAAAAns/znLkavQmf-Q/s1600/olympic_coin.jpg

Picture 3: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3186/2737103121_5f9cf3db1d.jpg

Picture 4: http://myles.jiscinvolve.org/wp/files/2012/08/BIOlympics1.jpeg

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