The word's greatest international sports games are known as the Olympic Games. They are held once every four years.
The Olympic Games have a very long history. They began in 777 BC in Greece and took place every four years for nearly twelve centuries at Olympia. They were for men only. They included many different kinds of sports: running, boxing, wrestling, long jumping, throwing of disks, etc.
All the cities in Greece sent their best athletes to Olympia to compete in the Games. Winners were called "olympionics", they were awarded olive wreaths and cups of olive oil. This tradition has survived. For the period of the Games all the wars stopped. So the Olympic Games become the symbol of peace and friendship. In 394 AD the Games were abolished and were not renewed until many centuries later.
In 1894, a Frenchman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, addressed all the sports governing bodies and pointed out the significance of sports and its educational value. Two years later the first modern Olympic Games took place. Of course, the competitions were held in Greece to symbolize the continuation of the centuries-old tradition.
In 1896 the International Olympic Committee was set up. It is the central policymaking body of the Olympic movement. It is formed by the representatives of all countries which take part in the Olympic Games. Besides, each country has its National Olympic Committee.
The Games opening ceremony is celebrated by lighting a flame called the "Olympic flame". The Olympic motto is "Faster, Higher, Stronger." The Olympic symbol is five interlocking circles colored blue, yellow, black, green and red.
Summer and Winter Games are held separately. The first Winter Olympic Games were hold in France in the city Shamoni in 1924.
Thousands of athletes, journalists and guests come to the Games, and it takes great efforts to arrange everything. There is always an interesting cultural programme of concerts, exhibitions, festivals, etc., for each Games.