The Olympics or Olympic Games are international sporting events which are meant to foster cooperation and friendship between the nations of the world while also celebrating athleticism. There are two main components to the Olympics: the Summer Games and the Winter Games. Both games last several weeks, combining scores of events, and they are held every four years. As of 1992, they are staggered so that an Olympic Games takes place every two years. By convention, the host of the Olympics changes with each Olympic Games, theoretically allowing every nation to have a chance to host the event, although the balance of hosts has been heavily skewed to the Northern Hemisphere historically.
The Olympic Games have ancient origins. In Ancient Greece, a pan-Hellenic games was held at Olympia every four years, allowing athletes to demonstrate their skills, along with poets, artists, and playwrights. The ancient Olympics also had a strong religious aspect, with attendees holding sacrifices and religious services throughout the games. In 393 BCE, the Roman Empire outlawed the Olympic Games, and it was not seen again in recognizable form for over 2000 years.
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As early as the 1700s, several sporting associations held regional Olympiads, and in the mid-1800s, Greece hosted an Olympiad which featured competitors from Greece and the Ottoman Empire. In 1896, the Olympic Games experienced an official revival, thanks to the efforts of Pierre Fredy, Baron of Coubertin, who established many of the conventions and infrastructure which live on in the modern Olympics, including the motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius, which means "Swifter, Higher, Stronger." Baron Coubertin also created the Olympic logo, a stylized design of five rings.
The Olympic Games are meant to symbolize peace, although three games (1916, 1940, and 1944) have been canceled due to war. They are also supposed to be apolitical, although this goal has not always been achieved; several Cold War nations boycotted each other during the Olympics, for example, and some nations have staged strategic Olympic boycotts to protest various activities by other competing nations.
The organizations which collectively work together to organize the Olympics are known as the Olympic Movement, and they include the International Olympic Committee, the International Federations which determine standards for various sports, and the National Olympic Committees of competing nations. Athletes who compete in the Olympics are widely considered to be among the best in the world; just being able to compete is a great honor, and taking a medal is a credit both to the individual athlete and the nation which he or she represents.