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HISTORY

  • Year-by-Year Olympic Medal Standings
    (Courtesy United States Olympic Committee - www.usoc.org)

    Olympic Motto
    -------------

    The Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius" is Latin for "Faster, Higher, Braver," but is universally accepted to mean "Swifter, Higher, Stronger."

    Olympic Creed
    -------------

    The words of the Olympic Creed are attributed to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games.

    "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not the win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

    De Coubertin adopted, and later quoted, this creed after hearing Ethelbert Talbot, the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania, speak at St. Paul's Cathedral on July 19, 1908, during the London Games. The service was given for the Olympic athletes, who were all invited. Talbot's exact words that day were: "The important thing in these Olympics is not so much winning as taking part."

    Olympic Rings
    -------------

    The Olympic symbol--five interlocked rings--represents the union of the five original major continents (Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe) and the meeting of the athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games. The five colors of the rings from left to right are blue, black and red across the top and yellow and green along the bottom. The colors of the rings are thought to have been chosen because at least one of these colors can be found in the flag of every nation.

    Olympic Flag
    ------------

    The Olympic Flag has a plain white background with no border. In the center are the five interlocked Olympic rings. The flag was presented by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1914 at the Olympic Congress is 1914, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the International Olympic Committee. It was flown that year at Alexandria, Greece, but made its Olympic debut in 1920 at Antwerp. The "primary" Olympic flag was thus known as "the Antwerp flag." In 1984, Seoul presented a new Olympic flag (as the old was getting quite worn) to the IOC, which was first flown at the 1988 Olympic Games.

    At the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games, the mayor of the Olympic host city presents the Olympic flag to the mayor of the next Olympic host city. The flag is then kept in the town hall of the host city until the next Olympic Games.

    Olympic Hymn
    ------------

    The Olympic Hymn is played when the Olympic Flag is raised. The music was composed by Spirou Samara. The words were added by Costis of Greece in 1896.
  •      "Immortal spirit of antiquity
         Father of the true, beautiful and good
         Descend, appear, shed over us thy light
         Upon this ground and under this sky
         Which has fits witnessed by unperishable fame.
    
         "Give life and animation to those noble Games
         Throw wreaths of fadeless flowers to the victors
         In the race and in the strife
         Create in our breasts, hearts of steel.
    
         "In thy light, plains, mountains and seas
         Shine is a roseate hue and for a vast temple
         To which all nations throng to adore thee
         Oh immortal spirit of antiquity."
    
    Olympic Mascot
    --------------

    The first Olympic mascot made a discreet appearance at the 1968 Olympic Winter Games in Grenoble. Its name was Schuss. The first mascot for the Summer Games was Waldi, the dachshund of the 1972 Munich Games.

    The Olympic mascot, however successful, disappears with the end of the Games its personifies. It was created to be understood by everyone, especially the young. It is friendly and appealing and is part of the visual identity of the Games.
    Year Mascot
    ---- ------
    
    1972 Waldi (dachshund)
    1976 Amik (beaver)
    1980 Micha (bear)
    1984 Sam (eagle)
    1988 Hodori (tiger)
    1992 Cobi (dog)
    1996 Izzy
    2000 Olly, Syd, and Millie (kookaburra, platypus, 
         and echidna)
    2004 Phevos and Athena (brother and sister)
    
    Victory Ceremonies
    ------------------

    On the podium, medals are presented to the first, second and third-place finishers. The winner stands in the middle at the highest elevation; the runner-up stands slightly below to the victor's right and the third-place finisher stands lower to the left. Olympic medals must be at least 66 millimeters in diameter and at least three millimeters thick. Gold and silver medals must be made of 92.5 percent pure silver; the gold medal must be gilded with at least six grams of gold. The design of the medals is the responsibility of the host city''s organizing committee.

    At the first modern Games in Greece in 1896, medals were given only to first and second-place finishers. The winner received a silver medal and the runner-up a bronze medal. The winner was also given a crown of olive branches, while the second-place finisher settled for a laurel branch crown.

    The 1900 Games in Paris remain the only Olympics where no medals were awarded. Instead winners were given valuable pieces of art.

    Opening Ceremonies
    ------------------

    Planning and execution of this dazzling spectacle is primarily the responsibility of the host city, but basic guidelines, as outlined in the Olympic Charlter of 1985 exist.

    Athletes from every country parade into the main Olympic stadium in alphabetical order according to the host country's language with two exceptions: Greece, which hosted the first modern Games in 1896, always leads the parade, and the host country's team is always last.

    A woman carrying each country's respective placard walks in front of the athletes. Behind her is the standard flagbearer for each nation. The proceeding program is traditional and fairly consistent.

    The president of the IOC asks the host country's Head of State to open the Games. The Head of State does the honors with the following phrase: "I declare open the Games of (host city), celebrating the (number of the) Olympiad of the modern era."

    Closing Ceremonies
    ------------------

    The closing ceremony, which is also held in the main Olympic stadium, signals the official end of the Games. Olympic protocol requires each country to select a standard bearer. The athletes march in no particular order, between eight and 10 abreast, "united only by the friendly bonds of Olympic sport."

    As the Greek national anthem is played, the Greek flag is raised to the right of the center flagpole. Then the flag of the next host country is raised to the left.

    The IOC president then pronounces the Games closed with the following statement: "I call upon the youth of all countries to assemble four years from now at (the site of the next Olympics), there to celebrate with us the Games of the (number of the next) Olympiad."

    The official ending of the Olympic Games is marked by the extinguishing of the Olympic Flame to the strains of the Olympic Hymn. The Olympic Flag is then lowered and carried from the stadium by eight people.

    Olympic Oath
    ------------

    The Olympic Oath is a symbolic gesture of sportsmanship that began at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium. Basically, one athlete from the host country takes an oath in the Opening Ceremonies on behalf of all athletes, pledging to uphold the Olympic spirit of competition and fair play. It is also given by a judge from the host country with slightly different wording.

    The oath is as follows: "In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams."

    Oathtakers are chosen by the host city's organizing committee and are usually athletes from the host country.

    Year Oathtaker (Sport)
    ---- -----------------
    
    1920 Victor Boin (Fencing)
    1924 George Andrew (Athletics)
    1928 Henri Denis (Soccer)
    1932 George Calnan (Fencing)
    1936 Rudolf Ismayr (Weightlifting)
    1948 Donald Finlay (Athletics)
    1952 Heikki Savolainen (Gymnastics)
    1956 John Landy (Athletics)
    1960 Adolfo Consolini (Athletics)
    1964 Takashi Ono (Gymnastics)
    1968 Pablo Garrido (Athletics)
    1972 Heidi Schuller (Athletics)
    1976 Pierre St. Jean (Weightlifting)
    1980 Nikolai Andrianov (Gymnastics)
    1984 Edwin Moses (Athletics)
    1988 Huh Jae (Basketball)
         Son Mi-na (Team Handball)
    1992 Luis Doreste
    1996 Teresa Edwards (Basketball)
    2000 Rechelle Hawkes (Field Hockey)
    2004 TBD
    
    U.S. Olympic Team Flagbearers
    -----------------------------

    At each Olympic Games--winter and summer--each country's team is preceded into the Olympic stadium by an athlete or delegation representative bearing the country's flag.

    The flagbearer for the U.S. Olympic Team is normally chosen by the fellow athletes or respective team captains. The practice of carrying in the nations' flags first began at the 1908 Olympic Games in London.

    Year U.S. Flagbearer (Sport)
    ---- -----------------------
    
    1908 John C. Garrels (Athletics)
    1912 George V. Bonhag (Athletics)
    1920 Patrick J. McDonald (Athletics)
    1924 Patrick J. McDonald (Athletics)
    1928 Lemuel (Bud) C. Houser (Athletics)
    1932 F. Morgan Taylor (Athletics)
    1936 Alfred A. Jochim (Gymnastics)
    1948 Ralph C. Craig (Yachting)
    1952 Norman C. Armitage (Fencing)
    1956 Norman C. Armitage (Fencing)
         #Warren B. Wofford (Equestrian)
    1960 Rafer L. Johnson (Athletics)
    1964 William Parry O'Brien (Athletics)
    1968 Janice Lee Romary (Fencing)
    1972 Olga Fikotova Connolly (Athletics)
    1976 Gary W. Hall (Swimming)
    1980 USA did not attend
    1984 Edward Burke (Athletics)
    1988 Evelyn Ashford (Athletics)
    1992 Francie Larrieu Smith (Athletics)
    1996 Bruce Baumgartner (Wrestling)
    2000 Cliff Meidl (Canoe/Kayak)
    2004 TBD
    
    #Due to Australia's immigration laws for horses, the 1956 equestrian events were held separately in Stockholm.

    Olympic Games Torchbearers
    --------------------------

    The idea of lighting an Olympic flame for the duration of the Games derives from the ancient Greeks who used a flame lit by the sun's rays at Olympia, Greece, the site of the original Games. The concept was revived at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and has remained an Olympic tradition.

    Year Torchbearer
    ---- -----------
    
    1936 Fritz Schilgen
    1948 John Mark
    1952 Paavo Nurmi
    1956 Ron Clarke
    1960 Giancarlo Peris
    1964 Yoshinori Sakai
    1968 Enriqueta Sotelo
    1972 Guenter Zahn
    1976 Sandra Anderson
         Steve Prefontaine
    1980 Sergei Belov
    1984 Rafer Johnson
    1988 Chung Sun-man
         Kim Won-tak
         Sohn Mi-chung
    1992 Antonio Rebollo
    1996 Muhammad Ali 
    2000 Cathy Freeman 
    2004 TBD
    
    Olympic Winter Games TV Coverage
    --------------------------------
    
    Year Location             Network   Amount Paid
    ---- --------             -------   -----------
    1960 Squaw Valley, Calif. CBS       $50,000
    1964 Innsbruck, Austria   ABC       $597,000
    1968 Grenoble, France     ABC       $2.5 million
    1972 Sapporo, Japan       NBC       $6.4 million
    1976 Innsbruck, Austria   ABC       $10 million
    1980 Lake Placid, N.Y.    ABC       $15.5 million
    1984 Sarajevo, Yugoslavia ABC       $91.5 million
    1988 Calgary, Canada      ABC       $309 million
    1992 Albertville, France  CBS       $243 million
    1994 Lillehammer, Norway  CBS       $300 million
    1998 Nagano, Japan        CBS       $375 million
    2002 Salt Lake City, Utah NBC       $545 million
    2006 Torino, Italy        NBC       $613 million
    
    Summer Olympic Games TV Coverage
    --------------------------------
    
    Year Location             Network   Amount Paid
    ---- --------             -------   -----------
    
    1960 Rome, Italy          CBS       $394,000
    1964 Tokyo, Japan         NBC       $1.5 million
    1968 Mexico City, Mexico  ABC       $4.5 million
    1972 Munich, West Germany ABC       $7.5 million
    1976 Montreal, Canada     ABC       $25 million
    1980 Moscow, Soviet Union NBC       $87 million
    1984 Los Angeles, Calif.  ABC       $225 million
    1988 Seoul, Korea         NBC       $300 million
    1992 Barcelona, Spain     NBC       $401 million
    1996 Atlanta, Ga.         NBC       $456 million
    2000 Sydney, Australia    NBC       $705 million
    2004 Athens, Greece       NBC       $793 million
    2008 Beijing, China       NBC       $894 million
    
    



    Does Canada's low-medal haul in Athens bother you?
    Yes, it depresses me
    No, it's just sports
    I'm disappointed, but not worried
    We'll get 'em in Turin
    Don't care

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