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Summer Olympics


Summer Olympics

1896 ATHENS, Greece
Dates: from 6 to 15 April 1896.
Participants: 14 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), 43 events, 241 athletes (men only). Officially opened by: King George I.

The Games of the Olympiad in Athens were financed by a donation of approximately one million drachmas from a rich businessman, Georges Averof, and by the sale of souvenir stamps and medals. The Greek spectators were rewarded for their enthusiasm and sportsmanship as the star event, the marathon, a new event organised for the first time, was won by a Greek peasant, Spyridon Louis. American James Connolly became the first Olympic champion of the modern era, winning the triple jump on 6 April 1896 (13.71 metres).

1900 PARIS, France
Dates: from 14 May to 28 October 1900.
Participants: 24 NOCs, 95 events, 997 athletes (975 men, 22 women).
In 1900, Paris hosted the International Universal Exhibition, and the Games were organised in the framework of this Exhibition.

The Games were spread over five months and there were no real opening and closing ceremonies. Women made their Olympic debut in tennis and golf. British tennis player Charlotte Cooper was the first woman to earn the title of Olympic champion.1904

Dates: from 1 July to 23 November 1904.
Other candidate city: Chicago (USA).
Chicago was chosen initially but the IOC decided to transfer the Games to St Louis in 1902, because of the Universal Exhibition that took place in this city.
Participants: 12 NOCs, 91 events, 651 athletes (645 men, 6 women).
Officially opened by: David Francis, President of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904 Universal Exhibition).

The Games were very similar to those of 1900 and lasted almost five months. Numerous events were not labelled “Olympic”, but had the status of sporting championships only in the framework of the world fair. The athletes often competed as individuals who were not really linked to an international team. After 1904, Coubertin swore never again to organise the Olympic Games alongside a fair.

1908 LONDON, Great Britain
Dates: from 27 April to 31 October 1908.
Other candidate cities: Berlin (Germany), Milan (Italy) and Rome (Italy). Rome was chosen initially, but the Games were then awarded to London because Vesuvius erupted in 1906.
Participants: 22 NOCs, 110 events, 2,008 athletes (1,971 men, 37 women).
Officially opened by: King Edward VII.
This edition of the Olympic Games was one of the best organised thus far. The Games were starting to become known throughout the world, and athletes the world over wanted to compete. On the first Sunday of the Games, a religious service took place in St Paul’s Cathedral. The Bishop of Pennsylvania gave a sermon here that remained famous, containing the words: The important thing in these Olympiads is not to win, but to take part.

1912 STOCKHOLM, Sweden
Dates: from 5 May to 27 July 1912.
Participants: 28 NOCs, 102 events, 2,407 athletes (2,359 men, 48 women). For the first time, competitors in the Games came from all five continents.
Officially opened by: King Gustav V.  The Swedish hosts unofficially introduced the use of electronic time-keeping for the athletics races, as well as the first loudspeaker system. Sweden totally refused to allow boxing tournaments to take place on its territory, which made the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decide, after the Games, to limit the power of the
host city insofar as choosing the Olympic programme was concerned.


Did not take place because of WWI. Planned location: Berlin (Germany). Other candidate cities: Alexandria (Egypt) and Budapest (Hungary).

1920 ANTWERP, Belgium

Location: Antwerp, Belgium.
Dates: from 20 April to 12 September 1920.
Participants: 29 NOCs, 154 events, 2,626 athletes (2,561 men, 65 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Victor Boin, fencing.
Officially opened by: King Albert I.

The Opening Ceremony stood out for various reasons: first use of the Olympic flag; first time that a competitor took the Olympic oath; and first pigeon release.

1924 PARIS, France
Location: Paris, France.
Dates: from 4 May to 27 July 1924.
Other candidate cities: Amsterdam (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain), Los Angeles (USA), Prague (Czechoslovakia) and Rome (Italy).
Participants: 44 NOCs, 126 events, 3,089 athletes (2,954 men, 135 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Georges André, athletics.
Officially opened by: President Gaston Doumergue.
Emblem: emblem of the City of Paris.

At the Closing Ceremony, the practice of raising three flags (one for the IOC, one for the host country and one for the host country of the next edition of the Games) was introduced.

1928 AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands
Dates: from 17 May to 12 August 1928.
Participants: 46 NOCs, 109 events, 2,883 Athletes (2,606 men, 277 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Henri Denis, football.
Officially opened by: Prince Hendrik.

For the first time, the Olympic flame was lit at the top of a tower within the stadium. It remained lit throughout the Games. At this period, the Olympic Torch Relay had not yet been invented. The programme contained athletics events for women for the first time. The presentation of medals took place on the final day of the Games for the last time.


Dates: from 30 July to 14 August 1932.
Participants: 37 NOCs, 117 events, 1,332 athletes (1,206 men, 126 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): George Calnan, fencing. Officially opened by: Vice-President Charles Curtis.
Emblem: Arms in the colours of the United States, with, in the foreground, the Olympic rings and motto.

The 1932 Olympic Games were the first to take place over 16 days. For the first time, male athletes were accommodated in a single Olympic village (the women stayed in a hotel). At the medal presentation ceremonies, the winners stepped onto podiums and their countries’ flags were raised. Automatic timing was introduced for the athletics events, as was the photo finish.

1936 BERLIN, Germany
Location: Berlin, Germany.
Dates: from 1 to 16 August 1936.
Other candidate city: Barcelona (Spain).
Participants: 49 NOCs, 129 events, 3,963 athletes (3,632 men, 331 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Rudolf Ismayr, weightlifting.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Fritz Schilgen.
Officially opened by: Chancellor Adolf Hitler.
Emblem: a bell with the Olympic rings under the German eagle.

The 1936 Olympic Games put paid to Adolf Hitler’s attempt to prove his theories on the superiority of the Aryan race. These Games witnessed the introduction of the Olympic Torch Relay. The flame is carried from Olympia to the site of the Games. The 1936 Games were also the first to be broadcast on television.


Did not take place because of WWII. Planned location: initially Tokyo (Japan) but, because of the Sino-Japanese conflict, the Games were reassigned to Helsinki (Finland).
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Did not take place because of WWII. Planned location: London (Great Britain). Other candidate cities: Detroit (USA), Lausanne (Switzerland) and Rome (Italy).

1948 LONDON, Great Britain
Location: London, Great Britain.
Dates: from 29 July to 14 August 1948.
Other candidate cities: Baltimore (USA), Lausanne (Switzerland), Los Angeles (USA), Minneapolis (USA) and Philadelphia (USA).
Participants: 59 NOCs, 136 events, 4,104 athletes (3,714 men, 390 women).

There were no athletes from Japan or Germany.
Olympic oath (athletes): Donald Finlay, athletics.
Olympic cauldron lit by: John Mark.
Officially opened by: King George VI.
Emblem: Big Ben with the Olympic rings in the foreground.

1952 HELSINKI, Finland
Dates: from 19 July to 3 August 1952.
Other candidate cities: Los Angeles (USA), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Minneapolis (USA), Detroit (USA), Chicago (USA) and Philadelphia (USA).
Participants: 69 NOCs, 149 events, 4,955 athletes (4,436 men, 519 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Heikki Savolainen, artistic gymnastics.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Paavo Nurmi and Hannes Kolehmainen: after having lit a first cauldron in the stadium, Nurmi passed the torch to Kolehmainen, who lit a second cauldron at the top of the stadium tower, in honour of the 1940 Games which did not take place.
Officially opened by: President Juho Paasikivi.
Emblem: the stadium tower with the Olympic rings at the top.

The Soviet Union took part in the Games for the first time. One of the first women authorised to compete against the men in dressage was Denmark’s Lis Hartel, who won a silver medal

1956 MELBOURNE, Australia

Dates: from 22 November to 8 December 1956.
Other candidate cities: Buenos Aires (Argentina), Los Angeles (USA), Detroit (USA), Mexico City (Mexico), Chicago (USA), Minneapolis (USA), Philadelphia (USA) and San Francisco (USA).
Participants: 67 NOCs, 145 events, 3,155 athletes (2,791 men, 364 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): John Landy, athletics.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Ron Clarke
Officially opened by: The Duke of Edinburgh.
Emblem: drawing of Australia, under an Olympic torch and rings. In the lower part, the inscription “MELBOURNE 1956”, extended at both ends by laurel branches.
Dates: from 10 to 17 June 1956.
Other candidate cities: Paris (France), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Berlin (Germany) and Los Angeles (USA).
Participants: 29 NOCs, 6 events, 159 athletes (147 men, 12 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Henri Saint Cyr.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Hans Wikne.
Officially opened by: King Gustaf VI Adolf.
Emblem: the Olympic rings under an ancient horseman.

For the first time, the competitions took place in two countries. As the equine quarantine law was too strict to allow the entry of foreign horses into Australia, the equestrian events took place in Stockholm. The two Germanys (west and east) took part as a combined team. This practice continued for the following two editions of the Games. For the first time, the athletes paraded together, rather than by country, as a symbol of world unity.

1960 ROME, Italy
Dates: from 25 August to 11 September 1960.
Other candidate cities: Lausanne (Switzerland), Detroit (USA), Budapest (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium), Mexico City (Mexico) and Tokyo (Japan).
Participants: 83 NOCs, 150 events, 5,338 athletes, (4,727 men, 611 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Adolfo Consolini, athletics.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Giancarlo Peris.
Officially opened by: President Giovanni Gronchi.
Emblem: the Olympic rings under the Roman shewolf, suckling Romulus and Remus.
Rome organised the competitions on several ancient sites (the ruins of the Basilica of Maxence, the Caracalla Baths and the Arch of Constantine [finish line of the marathon]).

These Games were broadcast live in 18 European countries; they were also broadcast with a time delay of a few hours in the USA and Canada.

1964 TOKYO, Japan
Dates: from 10 to 24 October 1964.
Other candidate cities: Detroit (USA), Vienna (Austria) and Brussels (Belgium).
Participants: 93 NOCs, 163 events, 5,151 athletes (4,473 men, 678 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Takashi Ono, artistic gymnastics.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Yoshinori Sakaï.
Officially opened by: Emperor Hirohito.
Emblem: Rising sun juxtaposed with the Olympic rings.

The 1964 Tokyo Games were the first ones organized in Asia. The Japanese highlighted their success in reconstructing their country after WWII by choosing as the last torchbearer Yashinori Sakaï, who was born in Hiros hima on the same day that the city was destroyed by an atomic bomb.

1968 MEXICO CITY, Mexico
Dates: from 12 to 27 October 1968.
Other candidate cities: Detroit (USA), Lyon (France) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Participants: 112 NOCs, 172 events, 5,516 athletes (4,735 men,781 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Pablo Lugo Garrido, athletics.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Norma Enriqueta Basilio de Sotelo.
Officially opened by: President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz.
Emblem: composed of a combination of the five rings and the Olympic year.

There were a few “firsts”: the Games were held in Latin America; a woman lit the Olympic flame; the winners had to undergo doping controls (narcotics and stimulants); and a synthetic material (Tartan‚) was used for the athletics track.

1972 MUNICH, Germany
Dates: from 26 August to 11 September 1972. Other candidate cities: Montreal (Canada), Madrid (Spain) and Detroit (USA).
Participants: 121 NOCs, 195 events, 7,134 athletes (6,075 men, 1,059 women).
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Olympic oath (athletes): Heidi Schüller, athletics.
Olympic oath (officials): Heinz Pollay, equestrian sports.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Günter Zahn.
Officially opened by: President Gustave Heinemann.
Emblem: crown of rays of light.
Mascot: Waldi (a dachshund).

On the morning of 5 September, the Games were interrupted when eight Palestinian terrorists, representing the militant group Black September, broke into the Olympic Village, taking as hostages, then killing, 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. The Olympic Games were suspended for 34 hours and a memorial service for the victims held in the main stadium. The flags of all the nations flew at half-mast. The athletics track.

1976 MONTREAL, Canada
Dates: from 17 July to 1 August 1976.
Other candidate cities: Moscow (USSR) and Los Angeles (USA).
Participants: 92 NOCs, 198 events, 6,084 athletes (4,824 men, 1,260 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Pierre Saint-Jean, weightlifting.
Olympic oath (officials): Maurice Forget, athletics.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Stéphane Préfontaine and Sandra Henderson.
Officially opened by: Queen Elizabeth II.
Emblem: Olympic rings under an Olympic podium, also representing the letter “M” for Montreal.
Mascot: Amik (a beaver).

The 1976 Montreal Olympic Games fell victim to a boycott by the African nations, in protest at the New Zealand national rugby team’s tour of South Africa, and because the New Zealand team had been authorised to take part in the Olympic Games.

Dates: from 19 July to 3 August 1980.
Other candidate city: Los Angeles (USA).
Participants: 80 NOCs, 203 events, 5,179 athletes (4,064 men, 1,115 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Nikolay Andrianov, artistic gymnastics.
Olympic oath (officials): Aleksandr Medved, wrestling.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Sergei Belov.
Officially opened by: President of the Supreme Soviet Leonid Brezhnev.
Emblem: Olympic rings under parallel lines in a pyramid shape, crowned by a star representing the stars of the Kremlin.
Mascot: Misha (a bear).

Further to a boycott launched by the USA, only 80 countries (the fewest since 1956) took part in the Moscow Games.

Dates: from 28 July to 12 August 1984.
Participants: 140 NOCs, 221 events, 6,829 athletes (5,263 men, 1,566 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Edwin Moses, athletics.
Olympic oath (officials): Sharon Weber, artistic gymnastics.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Rafer Johnson.
Officially opened by: President Ronald Reagan.
Emblem: “Stars in movement”: three stars (red, white and blue) crossed by 13 horizontal, parallel lines representing movement and the 13 original colonies.
Mascot: Sam (an eagle).

Although a boycott, called by the USSR in response to the 1980 one, left some sports venues rather empty, a record 140 countries took part in these Games. They were the first since 1896 to be organised without government funding.

1988 SEOUL, Korea
Dates: from 17 September to 2 October 1988.
Other candidate city: Nagoya (Japan). Participants: 159 NOCs, 237 events, 8,391 athletes
(6,197 men, 2,194 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Hur Jae (basketball), Son Mi-Ha (handball).
Olympic oath (officials): Lee Hak-Rae, judo.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Chung Sun-Man, Kim Won-Tak and Sohn Mi-Chung.
Officially opened by: President Roh Tae-Woo.
Emblem: traditional Korean motif, three swirls representing the meeting of peoples and progression towards world peace.
Mascot: Hodori (a tiger).

Despite a boycott by North Korea, which had wanted to co-host the Games, this edition had the most participants in Olympic history, with the greatest number of countries represented.

1992 BARCELONA, Spain
Dates: from 25 July to 9 August 1992.
Other candidate cities: Paris (France), Brisbane (Australia), Belgrade (Yugoslavia), Birmingham (Great Britain) and Amsterdam (Netherlands).
Participants: 169 NOCs, 257 events, 9,356 athletes (6,652 men, 2,704 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Luis Doreste Blanco, sailing.
Olympic oath (officials): Eugenio Asensio, football.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Antonio Rebollo (Paralympic archer).
Officially opened by: King Juan Carlos I.
Emblem: a stylised athlete in the throes of action, flying above an obstacle (the Olympic rings).
Mascot: Cobi (a dog).

Since Seoul in 1988, the face of the world had changed. The Soviet Union no longer existed; Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were once again independent countries; Germany was reunified; Yugoslavia was divided into several republics; and North and South Yemen had become one. All these new national groupings appeared in Barcelona. South Africa took part in the Games for the first time since 1960.

Dates: from 19 July to 4 August 1996.
Other candidate cities: Athens (Greece), Toronto (Canada), Melbourne (Australia), Manchester (Great Britain) and Belgrade (Yugoslavia).
Participants: 197 NOCs, 10,318 athletes, 271 events (6,806 men, 3,512 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Teresa Edwards, basketball.
Olympic oath (officials): Hobie Billingsly, diving.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Muhammad Ali.
Officially opened by: President Bill Clinton.
Emblem: the logo represented a flame composed of the five Olympic rings with the number 100 (centennial) at their base, and a whimsical flame ending in four stars.
Mascot: Izzy (original name “Whatizit”) A computer-generated, blue cartoon character.

For the first time in Olympic history, all the recognized National Olympic Committees were represented at the Games. A record number of 79 countries won medals, and 53 won gold.
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2000 SYDNEY, Australia

Dates: from 15 September to 1 October 2000.
Other candidate cities: Berlin (Germany), Manchester (Great Britain), Beijing (China) and Istanbul (Turkey).
Participants: 200 NOCs, 10,651 athletes, 300 events, (6,582 men, 4,069 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Rechelle Hawkes, hockey.
Olympic oath (officials): Peter Kerr, water polo.
Olympic cauldron lit by: Cathy Freeman.
Officially opened by: the Governor General of Australia, Sir William Deane.
Emblem: The emblem represented all the elements of Australian culture: Australian colours, boomerangs, Sydney harbour, beaches, red earth and the indigenous inhabitants.
Mascots: “Syd”, a duck-billed platypus, “Millie”, an echidnea, and “Olly”, a kookaburra.

These Games were the biggest in history: 10, 651 athletes competed in 300 events. North and South Korea paraded together under the same flag. Four athletes from Timor Leste took part individually under the Olympic flag.

2004 ATHENS, Greece
Dates: from 12 to 28 August 2004
Other candidate cities: Buenos Aires (Argentina), Cape Town (South Africa), Rome (Italy) and Stockholm (Sweden).
Participants: 201 NOCs, 10,625 athletes, 301 events, (6,296 men, 4,329 women).
Olympic oath (athletes): Zoï Dimoschaki, swimming.
Olympic oath (officials): Lazaros Voreaadis,
Olympic cauldron lit by: Nikolaos Kaklamanakis.
Officially opened by: the President of the Republic, Konstantinos Stephanopoulos.
Emblem: a crown made of an olive branch. It represented through a characteristic Hellenic shape the four values of the 2004 Games: legacy, participation, celebration and the human dimension.
Mascots: “Phivos”, who bore the name of a mythical god of Olympia, Apollon-Phoebos, and his sister “Athina”, goddess of wisdom. These two mascots were inspired from dolls from Ancient Greece.

The shot put competition was held in the ancient stadium in Olympia, while the marathon was staged on the historic route. The Olympic Torch Relay, which started in Olympia, was the first relay in the history of the Games to cross the five continents, before returning to Greece.

2008 BEIJING, China
Dates: from 8 to 24 August 2008.
Other candidate cities: Istanbul (Turkey), Osaka (Japan), Paris (France), Toronto (Canada)
Participation: 205 NOCs, 10,500 athletes, 302 events.
Emblem: The emblem, entitled “Dancing Beijing”, combines the art of calligraphy and sport, the latter being represented by a human silhouette running to celebrate victory.
Mascots: There are five mascots representing the Beijing Games: four animals: Beibei the fish, Jingjing the panda, Yingying the Tibetan antelope, and Nini the swallow; the fifth being Huanhuan the Olympic flame.

When the first syllables of the mascots are put together, it creates: Bei Jing Huan Ying Nin, which means “Welcome to Beijing” in Chinese. These mascots are therefore offer a warm invitation which reflects their mission as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.

2012 LONDON, Great Britain

Dates: from 27 July to 12 August 2012
Other candidate cities: Paris (France), Madrid (Spain), Moscow (Russian Federation) and New York (USA).
2016 Games of the XXXI Olympiad
Applicant cities: Chicago (USA), Prague (Czech Republic), Tokyo (Japan), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Baku (Azerbaijan), Doha (Qatar) and Madrid (Spain)*

The cities are listed in the order of the drawing of lots the election of the 2016 host city will take place in Copenhagen during the 121st Session of the IOC on 2 October 2009.

The above information comes from