The first Olympics

The first Olympic Games were held in Olympia in Greece in 776 BC. In these early games the events were very traditional and included running, javelin throwing, wrestling and boxing. The games were held every four years and were for men only. Women could not compete in them or even watch them. The athletes didn’t wear any clothes and there were no medals or trophies for the winners. The prizes were crowns made of olive leaves.

The Olympic flame

The Olympic flame is an important symbol of the Games. A few months before the games start, the flame is carried from Greece to the country holding the Olympics. Often it is carried by runners with torches. On the first day of the Olympic Games the flame is used to light a much bigger fire usually at the centre of the Olympic stadium and it will burn for as long as the games last.

The flag

The flag of the Olympic Games is white with five rings: blue, yellow, black, green and red. The rings represent the union of the five continents: Africa, America, Asia, Oceania and Europe.

The modern Olympics

Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. The IOC has since become the governing body of the Olympics and the first modern event took place in Athens in 1896. The Games are still held every four years and nowadays there are about 26 Olympic sports which are broken down into different events or disciplines. These include badminton, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, boxing, judo, tennis, football and even beach volleyball. Today, billions of people watch the Olympic Games around the world.