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The modern Olympic Games or Olympic (French: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in the four-year period.

Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: Ὀλυμπιακοί Ἀγῶνες), held in Olympia, Greece from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, leading to the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. The IOC is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority.

The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in several changes to the Olympic Games. Some of these adjustments include the creation of the Winter Olympic Games for snow and ice sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with disabilities, the Youth Olympic Games for athletes aged 14 to 18, the five Continental games (Pan American, African, Asian, European, and Pacific), and the World Games for sports that are not contested in the Olympic Games. The IOC also endorses the Deaflympics and the Special Olympics. The IOC has needed to adapt to a variety of economic, political, and technological advancements. The abuse of amateur rules by the Eastern Bloc nations prompted the IOC to shift away from pure amateurism, as envisioned by Coubertin, to the acceptance of professional athletes participating at the Games. The growing importance of mass media has created the issue of corporate sponsorship and general commercialisation of the Games. World wars led to the cancellation of the 1916, 1940, and 1944 Olympics; large-scale boycotts during the Cold War limited participation in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics; and the 2020 Olympics were postponed until 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Olympic Movement consists of international sports federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and organising committees for each specific Olympic Games. As the decision-making body, the IOC is responsible for choosing the host city for each Games, and organises and funds the Games according to the Olympic Charter. The IOC also determines the Olympic programme, consisting of the sports to be contested at the Games. There are several Olympic rituals and symbols, such as the Olympic flag and torch, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Over 14,000 athletes competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics and 2018 Winter Olympics combined, in 35 different sports and over 400 events. The first, second, and third-place finishers in each event receive Olympic medals: gold, silver, and bronze, respectively.

The Games have grown so much that nearly every nation is now represented. This growth has created numerous challenges and controversies, including boycotts, doping, bribery, and a terrorist attack in 1972. Every two years the Olympics and its media exposure provide athletes with the chance to attain national and sometimes international fame. The Games also constitute an opportunity for the host city and country to showcase themselves to the world.

Host cities[]

Summer Olympic Games[]

Edition Year Opening ceremony Closing ceremony Host city and country Stadium Opened by
I 1896 6 April 15 April Athens, Greece Panathenaic Stadium George I
King of the Hellenes
II 1900 14 May 28 October Paris, France Vélodrome de Vincennes none
III 1904 1 July 23 November St. Louis, Missouri, United States Francis Field David R. Francis
President of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (representing Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States)
IV 1908 27 April 31 October London, England, United Kingdom White City Stadium Edward VII
King of the United Kingdom
V 1912 6 July 22 July Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm Olympic Stadium Gustaf V
King of Sweden
VI 1916 cancelled due to World War I Berlin, German Empire Deutsches Stadion (expected) none
VII 1920 14 August 12 September Antwerp, Belgium Olympisch Stadion Albert I
King of the Belgians
VIII 1924 5 July 27 July Paris, France Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir Gaston Doumergue
President of the French Republic
IX 1928 28 July 12 August Amsterdam, Netherlands Olympic Stadium Prince Hendrik
Prince consort of the Netherlands (representing his wife, Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands)
X 1932 30 July 14 August Los Angeles, California, United States Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Charles Curtis
Vice President of the United States (representing Herbert Hoover, President of the United States)
XI 1936 1 August 16 August Berlin, Nazi Germany Olympiastadion Adolf Hitler
Führer and Reich Chancellor of the German People
XII 1940 cancelled due to World War II Tokyo, Japan
Helsinki, Finland
Meiji Jingu Gaien Stadium
Helsinki Olympic Stadium (expected)
none
XIII 1944 London, United Kingdom none
XIV 1948 29 July 14 August Wembley Stadium George VI
King of the United Kingdom
XV 1952 19 July 3 August Helsinki, Finland Helsinki Olympic Stadium Juho Kusti Paasikivi
President of the Republic of Finland
XVI 1956 10 June 17 June Stockholm, Sweden (equestrian events) Stockholm Olympic Stadium Gustaf VI Adolf
King of Sweden
22 November 8 December Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Melbourne Cricket Ground Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
Consort to the Queen of Australia (representing his wife Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia)
XVII 1960 25 August 11 September Rome, Italy Stadio Olimpico Giovanni Gronchi
President of the Italian Republic
XVIII 1964 10 October 24 October Tokyo, Japan National Stadium Hirohito
Emperor of Japan
XIX 1968 12 October 27 October Mexico City, Mexico Estadio Olímpico Universitario Gustavo Díaz Ordaz
President of the United Mexican States
XX 1972 26 August 11 September Munich, West Germany Olympiastadion Gustav Heinemann
President of the Federal Republic of Germany
XXI 1976 17 July 1 August Montreal, Quebec, Canada Olympic Stadium Elizabeth II
Queen of Canada
XXII 1980 19 July 3 August Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium Leonid Brezhnev
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
XXIII 1984 28 July 12 August Los Angeles, California, United States Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Ronald Reagan
President of the United States
XXIV 1988 17 September 2 October Seoul, South Korea Seoul Olympic Stadium Roh Tae-woo
President of the Republic of Korea
XXV 1992 25 July 9 August Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc Juan Carlos I
King of Spain
XXVI 1996 19 July 4 August Atlanta, Georgia, United States Centennial Olympic Stadium Bill Clinton
President of the United States
XXVII 2000 15 September 1 October Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Stadium Australia William Deane
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (representing Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia)
XXVIII 2004 13 August 29 August Athens, Greece Olympic Stadium Konstantinos Stephanopoulos
President of the Hellenic Republic
XXIX 2008 8 August 24 August Beijing, China Beijing National Stadium Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
XXX 2012 27 July 12 August London, England, United Kingdom Olympic Stadium Elizabeth II
Queen of the United Kingdom
XXXI 2016 5 August 21 August Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Maracanã Stadium Michel Temer
Vice President of the Federative Republic of Brazil (served as Acting President while Dilma Rousseff, then-incumbent President of Brazil, was suspended from her duties during her impeachment trial)
XXXII 2020 23 July 2021 8 August 2021 Tokyo, Japan Japan National Stadium Naruhito
Emperor of Japan
XXXIII 2024 26 July 11 August Paris, France Stade de France Emmanuel Macron (or his 2022 election successor)
President of the French Republic
XXXIV 2028 21 July 6 August Los Angeles, California, United States Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
SoFi Stadium
Joe Biden (or his 2024 election successor)
President of the United States
XXXV 2032 23 July 8 August Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Brisbane Cricket Ground David Hurley (or his successor)
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (representing Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia)

Winter Olympic Games[]

Edition Year Opening ceremony Closing ceremony Host city and country Stadium Opened by
I 1924 25 January 5 February Chamonix, France Stade Olympique de Chamonix Gaston Vidal
Undersecretary for Physical Education of the French Republic (representing Alexandre Millerand, President of the French Republic)
II 1928 11 February 19 February St. Moritz, Switzerland St. Moritz Olympic Ice Rink Edmund Schulthess
President of the Swiss Confederation
III 1932 4 February 15 February Lake Placid, New York, United States Lake Placid Speedskating Oval Franklin D. Roosevelt
Governor of the State of New York (representing Herbert Hoover, President of the United States)
IV 1936 6 February 16 February Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Nazi Germany Große Olympiaschanze Adolf Hitler
Führer and Reich Chancellor of the German People
V 1940 cancelled due to World War II Sapporo, Japan
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Nazi Germany
none none
1944 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
1948 30 January 8 February St. Moritz, Switzerland St. Moritz Olympic Ice Rink Enrico Celio
President of the Swiss Confederation
VI 1952 14 February 25 February Oslo, Norway Bislett Stadium Princess Ragnhild
Princess of Norway (representing her grandfather Haakon VII, King of Norway)
VII 1956 26 January 5 February Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy Stadio Olimpico Del Ghiaccio Giovanni Gronchi
President of the Italian Republic
VIII 1960 18 February 28 February Squaw Valley, California, United States Blyth Arena Richard Nixon
Vice President of the United States (representing Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States)
IX 1964 29 January 9 February Innsbruck, Austria Bergiselschanze (opening)
Olympiahalle (closing)
Adolf Schärf
Federal President of the Republic of Austria
X 1968 6 February 18 February Grenoble, France Olympic Stadium (opening)
Le Stade de Glace (closing)
Charles de Gaulle
President of the French Republic
XI 1972 3 February 13 February Sapporo, Japan Makomanai Open Stadium (opening)
Makomanai Ice Arena (closing)
Hirohito
Emperor of Japan
XII 1976 4 February 15 February Innsbruck, Austria Bergiselschanze (opening)
Olympiahalle (closing)
Rudolf Kirchschläger
Federal President of the Republic of Austria
XIII 1980 13 February 24 February Lake Placid, New York, United States Lake Placid Equestrian Stadium (opening)
Olympic Center Arena (closing)
Walter Mondale
Vice President of the United States (representing Jimmy Carter, President of the United States)
XIV 1984 7 February 19 February Sarajevo, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia Olympic Stadium (opening)
Zetra Olympic Hall (closing)
Mika Špiljak
President of the Presidency of Yugoslavia
XV 1988 13 February 28 February Calgary, Alberta, Canada McMahon Stadium Jeanne Sauvé
Governor General of Canada (representing Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada)
XVI 1992 8 February 23 February Albertville, France Théâtre des Cérémonies François Mitterand
President of the French Republic
XVII 1994 12 February 27 February Lillehammer, Norway Lysgårdsbakken Harald V
King of Norway
XVIII 1998 7 February 22 February Nagano, Japan Nagano Olympic Stadium Akihito
Emperor of Japan
XIX 2002 8 February 24 February Salt Lake City, Utah, United States Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium George W. Bush
President of the United States
XX 2006 10 February 26 February Turin, Italy Stadio Olimpico Grando Torino Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
President of the Italian Republic
XXI 2010 12 February 28 February Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada BC Place Michaëlle Jean
Governor General of Canada (representing Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada)
XXII 2014 7 February 23 February Sochi, Russia Fisht Olympic Stadium Vladimir Putin
President of the Russian Federation
XXIII 2018 9 February 25 February Pyeongchang, South Korea Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium Moon Jae-in
President of the Republic of Korea
XXIV 2022 4 February 20 February Beijing, China Beijing National Stadium Xi Jinping
President of the People's Republic of China
(expected)
XXV 2026 6 February 22 February Milan–Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy San Siro (opening)
Verona Arena (closing)
Sergio Mattarella (or his 2022 election successor)
President of the Italian Republic

Summer Youth Olympic Games[]

Edition Year Opening ceremony Closing ceremony Host city and country Stadium Opened by
I 2010 14 August 26 August Singapore The Float at Marina Bay S.R. Nathan
President of the Republic of Singapore
II 2014 16 August 28 August Nanjing, China Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium Xi Jinping
President of the People's Republic of China
III 2018 6 October 18 October Buenos Aires, Argentina Obeslisco de Buenos Aires (opening)
Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Village (closing)
Mauricio Macri
President of the Argentine Republic
IV 2026 22 October 9 November Dakar, Senegal Diamniadio Olympic Stadium TBA
President of the Republic of Senegal

Winter Youth Olympic Games[]

Edition Year Opening ceremony Closing ceremony Host city and country Stadium Opened by
I 2012 13 January 22 January Innsbruck, Austria Bergiselschanze Heinz Fischer
Federal President of the Republic of Austria
II 2016 12 February 21 February Lillehammer, Norway Lysgårdsbakken Harald V
King of Norway
III 2020 9 January 22 January Lausanne, Switzerland Vaudoise Arena Simonetta Sommaruga
President of the Swiss Confederation
IV 2024 19 January 4 February Gangwon Province, South Korea Alpensia Ski Jumping Stadium (opening)
SCJ Olympic Stadium (closing)
Winner of the 2022 South Korean presidential election
President of the Republic of Korea
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