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All frequently asked questions

All frequently asked questions

Olympic rings and other olympic marks

  • Can I use the Olympic rings?
    • The Olympic rings are the exclusive property of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). They are a mark protected around the world and cannot be used without the IOC's prior written consent.

      You can send a detailed request to legal@olympic.org which must include the below information:

      • Who is making the request? Name, full address, telephone and/or fax number, e-mail address. Organisation, company, museum or individual.
      • Which content is concerned? (texts, images or films)
      • How will the content be used? Private use (no broadcasting), school work, group activities, exhibition, production/broadcasting

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  • What is the meaning of the Olympic rings?
    • The Olympic symbol consists of five interlaced rings of equal dimensions, used alone, in one or in five different colours, which are, from left to right, blue, yellow, black, green and red. The Olympic symbol (the Olympic rings) expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.

      But watch out, it is wrong to say that each of the colours corresponds to a certain continent! In fact, when Pierre de Coubertin created the Rings in 1913, the five colours combined with the white background represented the colours of the flags of all nations at that time, without exception.

  • What are the Olympic properties?
    • The Olympic properties are:

      • The Olympic symbol (rings)
      • The Olympic flag
      • The Olympic motto
      • The Olympic anthem
      • Olympic identifications (including but not limited to "Olympic Games" and "Games of the Olympiad")
      • Olympic designations
      • Olympic emblems
      • The Olympic flame and torches

      The International Olympic Committee (IOC) owns all rights on the Olympic properties.

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  • What is the Olympic motto?
    • The Olympic motto is made up of three Latin words :

      Citius - Altius - Fortius. These words mean Faster - Higher - Stronger.

      It was the Dominican priest Henri Didon who first expressed the words in the opening ceremony of a school sports event in 1881. Pierre de Coubertin, who was present that day, adopted them as the Olympic motto. It expresses the aspirations of the Olympic Movement not only in its athletic and technical sense but also from a moral and educational perspective.

      The Olympic motto is an Olympic property.

  • Who wrote the Olympic anthem?
    • The music for the Olympic anthem was composed by Spiros Samaras, to words by Kostas Palamas, for the first Games in Athens in 1896. Various musical arrangements went on to be played at the opening ceremonies. In 1958, in Tokyo, the IOC Session decided that the Samaras/Palamas composition would be the official Anthem as of the 1960 Games (Squaw Valley and Rome).

      The Olympic anthem is one of the Olympic properties:

  • Is it possible to obtain an Olympic flag?
    • The Olympic flag is an Olympic property. Its use is reserved for the Olympic Games. For this reason, it cannot be made available for public use.

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  • What is the Torch relay?
    • A few months before the opening of the Olympic Games, a flame is lit at Olympia, in Greece. The location recalls the link between the Ancient Olympic Games and their modern counterpart. From there, the Flame is carried for a number of weeks to the host city, mainly on foot by runners, but also using other forms of transport.

      Throughout the Torch relay, the flame announces the Olympic Games and spreads a message of peace and friendship between peoples. The Torch relay ends at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The final runner (or sometimes runners) enters the stadium and lights the cauldron with the Olympic flame. The Games can then begin!

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  • Who created the Olympic rings symbol?
    • The Rings appeared for the first time in 1913 at the top of a letter written by Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. He drew and coloured the rings by hand.

      In the Olympic Review of August 1913, he explained that "These five rings represent the five parts of the world now won over to Olympism and ready to accept its fertile rivalries. Moreover, the six colours thus combined reproduce those of all the nations without exception."

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  • When was the first Olympic torch relay held?
    • For the Summer Games, the first Olympic torch relay was in 1936. Reviving the idea of the torch races in Ancient Greece, the Secretary General of the Organising Committee for the Games in Berlin, Carl Diem, proposed that a flame be lit at Olympia and then relayed on foot to Berlin. That year, more than 3,000 athletes from seven countries took part in the relay.

      For the Winter Games, the first Torch relay was at the 1952 Games in Oslo. It did not begin in Olympia, Greece, but in the Morgedal valley in Norway. It is only since the 1964 Games in Innsbruck that the relay has started in Olympia.

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  • What is the Olympic Torch Relay Rio 2016 route?
    • Following the traditional Olympic flame lighting ceremony at Ancient Olympia in Greece, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, the 21st of April, the Torch Relay Rio 2016 will travel across Brazil for 95 days as from the 3rd of May.

      In Brazil, the Olympic flame will be transported 20,000 kilometers by road, 10,000 km by air and carried by 12,000 torchbearers.

      The relay will visit 329 towns and cities, crossing all five regions of Brazil and reaching 90 per cent of its population. It will conclude during the Opening Ceremony at the Maracanã Stadium on 5 August.

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  • What is the design of the Rio 2016 Summer Games Torch?
    • The innovative design of the Rio 2016 torch, which is inspired by the warmth of the Brazilian people, features moveable segments that expand vertically to reveal the colours of Brazil when the Olympic flame is passed from one torchbearer to another. The triangular shape of the torch, meanwhile, alludes to the three Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect, while the floating effect of its different segments represents the efforts of the athletes.

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  • Who are the mascots for the Rio 2016 Games?
  • What is Olympism?
    • Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

      The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

      Olympism in action includes six global activities:
      Sport for All, Peace through Sport, Development through Sport, Women and Sport, Education through Sport as well as Sport and Environment.

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  • What are the values of Olympism?
    • The three values of Olympism are excellence, friendship and respect. They constitute the foundation on which the Olympic Movement builds its activities to promote sport, culture and education with a view to building a better world.

  • What is the Olympic creed ?
    • "The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well."


      Inspired by the words of the Bishop of Pennsylvania, Ethelbert Talbot, Pierre de Coubertin first spoke this phrase in a slightly different form at a reception given by the British government on 24 July 1908. It went on to become the Olympic Movement’s creed.

  • What is the Olympic Charter?
    • The Olympic Charter is the codification of the fundamental principles of Olympism, and the rules and bye-laws adopted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It governs the organisation, actions and functioning of the Olympic Movement and establishes the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games.”

      The Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter are based on a document written by Pierre de Coubertin in around 1898. The first edition was published in 1908 under the title of Annuaire du Comité International Olympique. The Olympic Charter was later known by other names, including “Olympic Rules”, before finally taking the name Olympic Charter in 1978.

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    Sports, programme and results

  • Which sports are on the programme of the next Games?
  • The Olympic programme comprises sports, disciplines and events – what is the difference between the three?
    • A sport is that which is governed by an International Federation (IF).
      A discipline is a branch of a sport comprising one or more events.
      An event is a competition in a sport or discipline that gives rise to a ranking.

      Thus, skiing is a sport, while cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping and Nordic combined are disciplines. Alpine skiing is a discipline, while the super-G, giant slalom, slalom and combined are events.

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  • Where can I find the medallists and results of the Olympic Games?
    • You can find all Olympic medallists and the results of the latest Games editions on our website at this link

  • How can a sport be included in the Olympic Games programme?
  • What do winners at the Olympic Games receive?
  • What are the conditions required for a sport to be recognised by the IOC?
  • Who is responsible for the rules governing an Olympic sport?
  • Where will the next Olympic Games be held?
  • What are the latest developments concerning the programme of the Winter Games?
    • The following events have been added to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic programme:

      • curling mixed doubles (men’s and women’s)
      • speed skating mass start (men's and women's)
      • alpine skiing nations team event (men's and women's)
      • snowboard big air (men's and women's)

      These modifications were approved by the IOC Executive Board (EB) in June 2015. The EB also decided to remove the snowboard parallel slalom (M/W) in agreement with the International Ski Federation (FIS).

      The changes reflect the continued evolution of the Olympic Winter programme and build on the success of recent editions of the Games. They also build on the reforms outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020 which aim to create more flexibility in the programme of the Olympic Games.

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  • What are the dates of the 2016 Games in Rio?
  • What are the dates of the sporting events at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016?
  • How many countries and athletes are participating in the Olympic Games Rio 2016?
    • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) invites all the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to take part in the Olympic Games, one year before the Games opening ceremony.

      Some 10,500 athletes are expected at the Olympic Games in Rio (from 5 to 21 August 2016).

      The qualification systems are defined by the IOC as well as each International Sport Federations (IFs) who also organise qualifications events.

      It is the NOCs who enter the athletes for the Games and decide how to allocate the quota places for their athletes and teams, in particular if the number of qualified athletes exceeds the quota.

      The NOCs may publish information on their websites about the athletes who have already qualified.

      This qualification and entry process ends only a few days before the opening of the Olympic Village and the exact number of participating athletes per country will be definitive only after the Games.

      In the lead-up to and during the Games, we suggest you consult the Rio 2016 Organising Committee website (Athletes / Countries) regularly for information on the participants and their results.

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  • Where are the competition venues for the Rio 2016 Summer Games?
    • The majority of events will take place in the Barra zone, where competitions in 22 disciplines will be hosted across 12 sports venues. Competitions in the other 20 disciplines will be held in 18 venues across Copacabana, Deodoro and Maracanã. Three events will be held across two zones: road cycling will be staged in Barra and Copacabana; basketball in Barra and Deodoro; and water polo in Barra and Maracanã. In the football tournaments, besides Rio de Janeiro, matches will be played in the cities of Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Manaus.

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  • How many athletes and countries took part in the 2014 Games in Sochi?
    • 88 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) took part in the Winter Games in Sochi.

      2,780 athletes attended these Winter Games between 7 and 23 February 2014.

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  • Which country won the most medals at the 2014 Games in Sochi?
    • The IOC does not establish any ranking by country, as stipulated by the Olympic Charter (Chapter 5, Rule 57).

      To find out the number of medals won by the athletes of each National Olympic Committee (NOC) per Games edition, visit each NOC’s page (choose those you are interested in at that page), then go to the “Medals” list at the bottom of the page.

      You can also consult the NOCs’ websites.

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    Competing and being part of the Games

  • I would like to carry the torch for the next Olympic Summer or Winter Games. How can I do this?
  • What does an athlete have to do to participate in the Olympic Games?
    • Taking part in the Olympic Games is every athlete’s dream, and requires huge amounts of determination and long years of training.

      Athletes must first comply with the Olympic Charter and follow the rules of the International Federation (IF) governing their sport. The IFs establish the rules and organise qualifying events, while the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the athlete’s country supports the athlete and is responsible for entering them for the Games.

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  • What is the age limit for taking part in the Olympic Games?
  • I would like to be a volunteer at the Olympic Games. What do I have to do?
    • The thousands of volunteers greatly contribute to the success of the Games. The recruitment of volunteers for the Olympic Games is under the responsibility of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG). As such you can apply to the respective OCOG:

      • The official website of Pyeongchang 2018 where information will become available in due time.
      • The official website of Tokyo 2020 where information will become available in due time.
  • Got a specific question related to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016?
    • For any specific questions related to the organisation of the Rio 2016 Games, please consult the FAQ section on the Organising Committee website:

  • How can I purchase tickets for the Olympic Summer Games in Rio in 2016?
    • Information regarding ticketing (both for Brazilian and non-Brazilian residents) is available on the Rio 2016 website:

       

  • Where can I find details about the accommodation and access for the next Olympic Games?
  • Where do the athletes live during the Olympic Games?
    • During the two weeks of the Games, the athletes live in the Olympic Village. This is a residential complex, generally located close to the Olympic stadium, where the world’s athletes in all the Olympic sports live together.

      The Olympic Village is safe and comfortable. During the Games, it provides for all the athletes’ needs and protects them from disturbance by the outside world. The Village includes the athletes’ accommodation, together with an international zone which includes shops, various services and leisure facilities.

      Once the Games are over, the Olympic Village is usually turned into a new residential zone for the host city, with the accommodation being sold or rented to the local population.

      However, the athletes have not always had their own Village. The accommodation provided for the 1932 Games in Los Angeles is regarded as the first official modern Olympic Village.

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  • I would like to work for the IOC. What should I do?
    • The IOC publishes its job and internships offers on its website. They can be found in the “Jobs” section. Applications for the available positions can be made online. Spontaneous applications are not accepted.

  • I would like to work for an Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG). What should I do?
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    Youth Olympic Games

  • What are the YOG?
    • The Youth Olympic Games are the ultimate multi-sports event for young athletes, but they are more than just competing and performing. They are about learning important skills, connecting to other cultures and celebrating the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

      The Youth Olympic Games are essentially about competing, learning and sharing. The mission of the YOG is to shape and influence the athletes and other young participants, to prepare them to become ambassadors of Olympism, of sport and of a healthy lifestyle so they can take on an active role in their community.

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  • What is the origin of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • The YOG were created at the initiative of the former President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge. His idea was approved unanimously by the IOC members at their Session in July 2007 In Guatemala City. The 1st Summer YOG were held in Singapore, in August 2010. The 1st Winter YOG were held in Innsbruck, in January 2012.

      The objective of the YOG is to encourage young people around the world to practise sport; raise awareness of and encourage them to adopt the values of Olympism; and disseminate the message of the Olympic Movement around them.

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  • What is the difference between the Olympic Games (OG) and the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • The YOG are for the world's young athletes aged from 15 to 18. Like the OG, they are held every four years, and are held in the same year as the OG with the Summer YOG taking place the same year as the Olympic Winter Games and vice-versa. Note that following the approval of Agenda 2020 by the IOC Session in December 2014, in the future the organisation of the YOG will move to an non-Olympic year, starting with the 4th Summer Youth Olympic Games, which will be postponed from 2022 to 2023.

      The Summer YOG Nanjing 2014 gathered almost 3,800 young athletes, whereas the OG London 2012 welcomed more than 10,500 athletes.

      The Summer and Winter YOG last 12 and 10 days respectively, while the OG may last up to 16 days.

      The sports programme is based on that of the Olympic Games, with 28 sports for the Summer YOG and seven for the Winter YOG. However, the events are different, adapting to the age range and interests of the younger athletes. The YOG also include Learn & Share activities (known previously as Culture and Education Programme (CEP)).

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  • Where and when will the next Youth Olympic Games (YOG) take place?
  • What are the special features of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • The YOG are characterised primarily by their “YOG DNA” label, which defines the spirit and identity of the YOG. It is also the official trademark of the YOG, through which they distinguish themselves from the Olympic Games, while keeping the symbol of the Olympic rings.

      From a sports point of view, the YOG are an “ideas laboratory” for the International Sports Federations (IFs).
      Through the YOG, the IFs can innovate in their sport by proposing new events (for example, mixed or international teams, or a competition linking BMX and mountain biking). Sports not on the programme also have the opportunity to be presented in the framework of the “Sports Lab” (for example, skateboarding in Nanjing). Click here to learn more on the sports programme

      The YOG also distinguish themselves through the activities of theLearn and Share” programme. All the YOG participants are offered events through interactive workshops and forums based on five themes: Olympism, Skills Development, the Benefits of Sport and Healthy Lifestyles, Social Responsibility and Expression.
      This programme is a source of inspiration for all the participants, and encourages young people in their role as ambassadors of sport and Olympism within their communities.

      Furthermore, one thing that makes the YOG stand out is its participants. As well as athletes, other figures are equally important. These are:

      • Young Ambassadors: They are aged between 18 and 28 and are chosen by their National Olympic Committee (NOC). Like the athletes and other participants, they take part in the “Learn and Share” programme activities. They must also promote these activities to the YOG participants, and their mission is to promote the YOG in their countries and on social media networks.
      • Athlete Role Models: They are chosen by their International Federation (IF). They come to the YOG to support the young participants, answer their questions, give them advice and share their experiences. They also take part in the “Learn and Share” activities.
      • Young Reporters: They are aged between 18 and 24 and have either started or just finished journalism studies. They are selected by their National Olympic Committee (NOC), then by the continental associations of NOCs. For them, the YOG provide a unique opportunity to receive theoretical and practical training with professionals in the areas of the written and photographic press, radio, television and new media.
      • Ambassadors: They are elite athletes. Their role is to promote the YOG throughout the world during the YOG preparation phase. They are also present during the Games. Click here to discover the names of the ambassadors of the previous editions of the YOG.

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  • How are the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) financed?
    • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) contributes to the financing of the YOG. It covers the costs of transport and accommodation for the athletes and team officials in the Olympic Village as well as for representatives from the International Sports Federations (IFs) and IOC representatives in hotels. It also finances the TV production.

      The Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (YOCOG) shall be responsible for the planning, organising and staging of the YOG.

      On the other hand, the host city is responsible for the improvements to be made to sports and non-sports facilities and venues, where applicable.

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  • Does a city hosting the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) have to build new infrastructure?
    • No infrastructure has to be specially built to stage the YOG (apart from in exceptional cases). The facilities used must be in line with the sustainable development concept promoted by the Olympic Movement.

      The size and quality of this infrastructure must correspond to the objectives of the YOG and be suitable for young athletes. All the sports venues must be in the same city, and the use of multi-sports facilities is encouraged.

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  • Which sports are on the programme of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • The number of sports on the YOG programme is the same as for the Olympic Games: in total, 28 for the Summer YOG and 7 for the Winter YOG. What is different is the number of events and also their format, in order to adapt to the age groups and interests of the young athletes.

      For example, the programme of the Summer YOG Nanjing 2014 was based on that of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, including golf and rugby sevens. But new disciplines or formats were introduced, such as 3-on-3 basketball (instead of 5-on-5) and hockey5s instead of 11 a-side hockey or events featuring mixed teams of girls and boys from several National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

      The Winter YOG programme, for example, includes a skills challenge for ice hockey, monobob, nordic team event, cross-country cross and doubles curling.

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  • What age are the athletes competing in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • The young athletes must be 15, 16, 17 or 18 years old on 31 December in the year of the Games. The age groups for the events in which they compete are defined in collaboration with the International Sports Federations (IFs) concerned.

      For the 2016, 2018, and 2020, editions of the YOG, the following athletes are eligible to participate:
      2016: Athletes born between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2001
      2018: Athletes born between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2003
      2020: Athletes born between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2005

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  • How can a young athlete qualify to take part in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • The qualification of youth athletes is prepared in collaboration with the International Federations (IFs).

      For each discipline, world and continental junior championships as well as world junior rankings and qualifying events allow the athletes to qualify for the YOG.

      If a young athlete is interested in taking part in the YOG, he/she must contact his/her National Olympic Committee (NOC), which will inform him/her of the qualification criteria. The NOC is responsible for managing its delegation during the YOG.

      Applicable only to the Summer YOG:

      • At least four athletes per National Olympic Committee (NOC) must be able to take part in the Games – if possible two girls and two boys.  A number of quota places have been reserved in each of the individual sports to allow several athletes per NOC to receive Universality Places in order to take part in the YOG. A delegation may comprise a maximum of 70 athletes.
      • Each NOC can only qualify one boys place and one girls place in team sports (handball, football, hockey and rugby) with the exception of the host country.

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  • How many athletes compete in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • There are around 3,800 athletes for the Summer YOG from all of the NOCs, and about 1,100 athletes from 70 NOCs for the Winter YOG.

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  • Who were the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016 "Ambassadors"?
  • Who were the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016 "Young Ambassadors"?
  • Who were the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016 "Athlete Role Models"?
    • They were Olympians, like Ross Powers (USA - snowboard), Felix Gottwald (GER – nordic combined), Tora Berger (NOR – biathlon), Chun Lee-Kyun (KOR - short track speed skating), Stéphane Lambiel (SUI - figures skating) and many more.

      Their mission was to spend time with the young athletes, answer their questions, give them advice on all aspects of the life of an athlete, and participate in the Learn & Share activities alongside the young athletes.

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  • Who were the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016 “Young Reporters”?
  • What were the themes of the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016 Learn & Share programme?
    • The Learn & Share activities of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016 were built around the following main themes:

      • Olympism
      • Your Body and Mind
      • Your Career
      • Your Actions
      • Your Discovery
      • Your Stories

      Participants took part in over 25 activities and three excursions.
      The objective was to make the YOG an event linking sport, culture and education.

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  • Which were the new events on the programme of the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016?
    • Many new events were on the YOG programme for Lillehammer 2016:

      • Biathlon: super sprint mixed relay
      • Bosbleigh:  monobob race (men / women)
      • Ski Freestyle: ski slopestyle (men / women),
      • Snowboard: snowboard cross (men / women)
      • Cross-country skiing: cross-country cross (men / women)
      • Freestyle skiing / snowboard: team  ski snowboard cross (mixed)
      • Combined sport: nordic team event (mixed)

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  • What is the mascot for the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016?
  • How was Lillehammer elected as the host city for the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2016?
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    Roles and responsibilities of the IOC and its partners

  • What is Olympic Agenda 2020?
    • Olympic Agenda 2020 is a strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement that was launched by IOC President Thomas Bach after his election in September 2013.

      A year of open, transparent and widespread debate and discussion has resulted in 40 recommendations – made public on 18 November 2014 – that were discussed and unanimously approved by the full IOC membership at the 127th IOC Session on 8 and 9 December 2014 in Monaco.

      The 40 recommendations that make up Olympic Agenda 2020 stem from the thousands of contributions received from members of the Olympic Movement, public and civil society.

      More than 40,000 submissions were received, from which 1,200 concrete ideas were produced. These ideas were then further refined into the 40 recommendations by the IOC Executive Board, the 126th IOC Session, 14 Working Groups, the IOC Commissions, and  two Olympic Summits.

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  • What is the process for cities wanting to host the Olympic Games?
  • Who chooses the host city for future Olympic Games?
    • It is the members of the IOC, meeting at their Session, who choose the host city. Electing the host city for the Olympic Games is one of the powers of the Session.

      The host city is elected by a majority of the votes cast by secret ballot. Each active member has one vote. The members who are nationals of the countries with a Candidate City are not allowed to vote when their city remains in contention.

      The honorary members, honour members and suspended members are not allowed to vote. If a majority is not achieved in the first round of voting, the Candidate City with the fewest votes is eliminated, and a further round or rounds of voting are held until a majority is obtained by one city.

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  • What were the results of previous elections of the host city?
  • When was Rio chosen as the host city of the 2016 Summer Games?
    • On 2 October 2009, the IOC members at their Session in Copenhagen elected Rio as the host city for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad over Madrid (Spain), Tokyo (Japan) and Chicago (United States).

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  • When was PyeongChang chosen as the host city of the Olympic Winter Games 2018?
    • On 6 July 2011, the IOC members at their Session in Durban elected PyeongChang as the host city of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games by 63 votes out of 95 over Munich (Germany) and Annecy (France).

      The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be the first Winter Games to be held in the Republic of Korea. The Republic of Korea hosted the Olympic Summer Games Seoul 1988.

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  • Who organises the Olympic Games?
    • The host city’s Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG) is in charge of organising this great event.

      When the International Olympic Committee (IOC) selects a city to stage the Games, the city and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the host country create the OCOG which will organise the Games.

      From the moment it is created, seven years before the Games, the OCOG works closely with the IOC.

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  • Who organises the Paralympic Games?
    • The Paralympic Games are organised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), which is one of the organisations recognised by the Olympic Movement.

      The Paralympic Games are always held in the same year as the Olympic Games.

      Since the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul and the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, the Paralympic Games have been held using the same venues as the Olympic Games.

      Since the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the same organising committee has been responsible for staging both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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  • What is the role of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in organising the Olympic Games?
  • How are the Olympic Games financed?
    • The budget for the Olympic Games has naturally evolved over time and varies for each edition depending on the current context of the host city. However, the basic principles of financing the Games remain broadly the same and can be broken down into two distinct budgets:

      The Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG) Budget

      This is mainly privately financed with a large contribution from the IOC that comes from its different revenue sources, including The Olympic Partner (TOP) programme and the sale of broadcast rights for the Olympic Games.

      The IOC contributes a large part of the finances needed to stage an Olympic Games. It will contribute, for example, more than 1.5 billion USD to the success of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. For the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, we will invest 880 million USD in addition to providing other benefits. The IOC also provides the possibility to the Games organisers to commercialise the Olympic rights in their territory as well as to manage the ticketing of the event. Another revenue source for the local organisers is a national partnership programme.

      As part of its contribution, the IOC pays for the host broadcast operation, Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS), and provides various forms of Games support to the OCOG including through its “Transfer of Knowledge” programmes.

      The most recent editions of the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games have all either broken even or made a profit.

      The Non-OCOG Budget:

      This budget is generally under the control of the local authorities and comprises several elements:

      Capital Investment budget (Competition and Non-Competition venues) - This is directly related to the construction of the permanent competition and non-competition venues which must have a long term legacy. The financing of such investments are usually undertaken by the public authorities and/or the private sector.

      Operations budget - This includes the operational services of public authorities in support of the Games (such as security, transport, medical services, customs and immigration, etc.).

      In addition, each city/region/country has a long-term investment plan for general infrastructure which deals with wider infrastructure investments that the host country and city are making independently of the Games, such as investments in roads, airports and rail ways. How this is funded and the scope of this investment plan very much depend on what already exists in the city and the long term development vision of the city and country.

  • What measures are taken to fight doping at the Olympic Games?
    • The fight against doping is a priority for the IOC. It works in close collaboration with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), with an aim to applying a “zero tolerance” policy.

      The IOC’s Medical Commission has been fighting doping since 1967. Its field of action expanded after the creation of WADA in 1999. The role of this independent Agency is to promote and coordinate, on an international level, the fight against all forms of doping.

      At the Games, the IOC requires the Organising Committee to apply all practical methods of collecting urine and blood samples. It sets the number of tests to be performed in collaboration with the IFs concerned, the Games Organising Committee and the laboratory accredited for the Games, which works solely under the authority of the IOC.

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  • What role does the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) play?
  • What is the role of the International Sports Federations (IFs)?
  • What is a National Olympic Committee (NOC)?
    • National Olympic Committees (NOCs) exist in the different countries of the world. They are one of the three constituents of the Olympic Movement, alongside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Sports Federations (IFs).

      The NOCs’ mission is to develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement in their respective country, in accordance with the Olympic Charter. There are currently 206 NOCs.

      Learn more:

  • What is the Olympic Movement?
    • The Olympic Movement is composed of three main constituents: the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Sports Federations (IFs) and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

      In addition to these three constituents the Olympic Movement is made up of all the organisations which recognise the IOC’s authority: the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), the athletes, judges and referees, associations and clubs, as well as all the IOC-recognised organisations and institutions.

      As is clearly defined in the Olympic Charter, “The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised in accordance with Olympism and its values.” (Olympic Charter, Chapter 1, Rule 1.1)

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  • What is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and what is its mission?
    • The International Olympic Committee is the supreme authority of the Olympic Movement. Its job is to promote Olympism around the world and lead the Olympic Movement.

      The IOC is the catalyst for all the Olympic family members: National Olympic Committees, International, Federations, athletes, Organising Committees for the Olympic Games, TOP partners and broadcasters, plus United Nations agencies. The IOC cultivates its success through a series of programmes and projects which give life to the Olympic values. Its role is to ensure the regular celebration of the Olympic Games, support all the organisations affiliated to the Olympic Movement and encourage the promotion of the Olympic values.

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  • How does one become an IOC member?
    • To become an IOC member, it is necessary to be elected by the IOC Session by a majority of the votes cast. The IOC recruits and elects its members from among the people it deems qualified.

      The IOC’s members include active athletes, former athletes and the presidents or senior leaders of the International Sports Federations (IFs) or international organisations recognised by the IOC.

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  • Who can become IOC President?
    • To become President, it is first necessary to be an IOC member.

      Among its members, the IOC has active and former athletes, as well as presidents or high-level leaders of National Olympic Committees (NOCs), International Sports Federations (IFs) and international organisations recognised by the IOC.

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  • How is the IOC President elected and what is his role?
    • The IOC President is elected by secret ballot by the IOC members at the Session.

      The President’s term of office is eight years, and can be renewed once, for four years.

      The ninth IOC President Thomas Bach was elected on 10 September 2013 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.

      The role of the President is to represent the IOC and to preside over all its activities. He establishes election rules, except for the election of the President.

      He can also take a decision on behalf of the IOC, when circumstances dictate that the IOC Session or Executive Board cannot do so.

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  • Who has been IOC President since 1894?
    • To date, the IOC has had nine Presidents. In chronological order:

      • Demetrius Vikelas (Greece), President from 1894 to 1896
      • Pierre de Coubertin (France), President from 1896 to 1925
      • Henri de Baillet-Latour (Belgium), President from 1925 to 1942
      • J. Sigfrid Edström (Sweden), President from 1946 to 1952
      • Avery Brundage (USA), President from 1952 to 1972
      • Lord Killanin (Ireland), President from 1972 to 1980
      • Juan Antonio Samaranch (Spain), President from 1980 to 2001
      • Jacques Rogge (Belgium), President from 2001 to 2013
      • Thomas Bach (Germany), President from 2013

      The ninth IOC President was elected on 10 September 2013 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires

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  • What is the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)?
    • The Executive Board is the executive body of the IOC. It assumes the general overall responsibility for the administration of the IOC and monitors compliance with the Olympic Charter. The Board is made up of the IOC President, four vice-presidents and 10 other members, all elected by the Session.

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  • What is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session?
    • The Session is the general assembly of the IOC’s members. The supreme body of the IOC, its decisions are final. An ordinary Session is held once a year. Extraordinary Sessions may be convened by the President or upon the written request of at least one-third of the members.

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  • What powers does the Session have?
    • The Session has the following powers:

      1. To adopt or amend the Olympic Charter
      2. To elect the members of the IOC, the Honorary President, honorary members and honour members
      3. To elect the President, the Vice-Presidents and all other members of the IOC Executive Board
      4. To elect the host city of the Olympic Games
      5. To elect the city in which an ordinary Session is held, the President having the authority to determine the city in which an extraordinary Session is held
      6. To approve the annual report and accounts of the IOC
      7. To appoint the IOC’s auditors
      8. To decide on the awarding or withdrawal by the IOC of full recognition to or from NOCs, associations of NOCs, IFs, associations of IFs and other organisations
      9. To expel IOC members and to withdraw the status of Honorary President, honorary members and honour members
      10. To resolve and decide upon all other matters assigned to it by law or by the Olympic Charter

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  • Why does the International Olympic Committee have its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland?
  • Which are the Commissions of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)?
  • What is the role of women in the Olympic Movement?
    • For the IOC, the participation of women in sports activities, the Olympic Games and sports administration structures is a major preoccupation.

      Indeed, it is committed to gender equality. It is written in the Olympic Charter that the role of the IOC is “to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women” (Olympic Charter, Chapter 1, Rule 2.7).

      For this, a women and sport working group was set up in December 1995, and became, in March 2004, a fully-fledged Commission. It advises the IOC Executive Board on the policy to implement in terms of promoting women in sport.

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  • How does the Olympic Movement contribute to the fair development of sport?
    • Through Olympic Solidarity, a Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), assistance is provided to all of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), particularly to those which are in greater need, so that they can develop their own structures to favour the expansion of sport in their countries.

      World and continental programmes are set up to increase global assistance to the athletes, strengthen the structure of the NOCs and maintain assistance to training for coaches. Athletes can also obtain subsidies to help them train with a view to qualifying for the Olympic Games.

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  • What is the role of the Ethics Commission?
    • Its mission is to ensure respect, within the Olympic Movement, of the ethical principles set out in the Olympic Charter. To do this, it establishes a Code of Ethics which contains the applicable rules.

      In the event of a violation of the Code, it recommends measures to the IOC Executive Board. These range from a reminder of the rules to sanctions such as suspension of an NOC. The Ethics Commission also seeks to avoid breaches of the Code of Ethics by advising all the members of the Olympic Movement.

      This independent Commission is composed of nine members, the majority of whom are personalities from outside the Olympic Movement.

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  • Who can refer cases to the Ethics Commission?
    • Anyone concerned by a violation of the ethical principles in the IOC Code of Ethics can make a complaint to the Ethics Commission, provided that the complaint is against one of the bodies required to comply with the Code of Ethics - namely the IOC members, the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the cities bidding to host the Olympic Games and anyone taking part in the Olympic Games. The complaint will be sent to the IOC President for analysis and a recommendation by the Commission if the situation warrants it.

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  • Who is concerned by the Ethics Commission’s recommendations?
    • The Ethics Commission can recommend measures or sanctions against people or organisations who are required to respect the Olympic Charter and the Code of Ethics: the IOC administration and members, the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the cities bidding to host the Olympic Games or Youth Olympic Games and all the Olympic Games participants, including athletes and their entourage members, NOC delegations, and the International Federations (IFs) and their referees, judges, etc.

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  • How can I report suspicious activity related to competition manipulation or an infringement of the IOC Code of Ethics?
  • What is Olympic Solidarity?
    • Olympic Solidarity is one of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s commissions. Its job is to organise the assistance the IOC gives to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to help them develop sport in their respective countries.

      Through Olympic Solidarity, athletes can benefit from the “Olympic scholarships for athletes” programme, which allocates subsidies enabling athletes to train and qualify for the Olympic Games.

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  • How can I contact the IOC or an IOC Member ?
    • You can either send your message via this form or send your correspondence to the following address. Upon evaluation, your message will be forwarded to the appropriate service/person:

      International Olympic Committee
      Château de Vidy
      Case postale 356
      1001 Lausanne
      Switzerland

  • What is the IOC standpoint on discrimination ?
    • The Olympic Charter  states, in the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, that “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms [...] shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.

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    Olympic marketing

  • What are the objectives of Olympic marketing?
    • The aim of Olympic marketing is to ensure the stability and financial independence of the Olympic Movement through long-term sponsorship, licensing, rights sales and other programmes.

      Its job is to generate revenue, which is then distributed within the Olympic Movement; provide financial support for sport in emerging countries; allow the largest number of people to experience the Olympic Games broadcast; and to control and limit the commercialisation of the Games.

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  • What is the TOP programme?
    • The abbreviation “TOP” stands for “The Olympic Partner" programme. This is a global sponsorship programme managed by the IOC. Created in 1985, its aim is to generate diversified revenue to be shared in equal measure between the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) and the Olympic Movement. The TOP programme is established for a duration of four years, corresponding to the Olympic quadrennial period.

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  • What is the IOC’s policy on broadcasting the Olympic Games?
    • The IOC’s broadcasting policy is based on the Olympic Charter: “The IOC takes all necessary steps in order to ensure the fullest coverage by the different media and the widest possible audience in the world for the Olympic Games.”

      The IOC owns all the global broadcast rights to the Olympic Games, including via television, radio, mobile phones and internet platforms. It is responsible for awarding these rights to broadcasters around the world, to ensure the widest possible coverage of the Games. To achieve this objective, it sells the Olympic broadcast rights to an increasing number of nations, territories and markets, mainly to broadcasters which can ensure the widest possible coverage in their respective territories.

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  • Where does the Olympic Movement’s revenue come from?
    • All the IOC and Olympic Movement organisations’ revenues come from private sources.

      The Olympic Movement’s revenue comes from various programmes, such as the sale of broadcast rights (TV, radio and new media), international and national sponsorship and the sale of tickets and licensed products.

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  • How are the Olympic marketing revenues distributed?
  • How to become a sponsor or a partner for the Olympic Games?
    • The Olympic Games are one of the most effective international marketing platforms in the world, reaching billions of people in over 200 countries and territories throughout the world.

      There are different levels of marketing and licensing programmes linked to the Olympic Games at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOG) and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

      Under the direction of the IOC, “The Olympic Partner" (TOP) programme is a global sponsorship programme created in 1985, whose aim is to generate diversified revenue to be shared in equal measure between the OCOGs and the Olympic Movement.

      The Organising Committees (OCOGs) manage their own commercial programmes to support the staging of the Games. Contracts are negotiated directly by the OCOG and are generally limited to the Olympic quadrennial period.

      National Olympic Committees (NOCs) manage local sponsorship programmes in non-competing categories to the TOP sponsors that support their sports development activities and Olympic teams. These sponsorship programmes grant Olympic marketing rights within the NOC country or territory only.

      For more information on the latter two, please refer to the "local sponsorship programmes" section. For more precise information on local sponsorship opportunities for the upcoming Games, please contact the relevant NOC or OCOG.

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    Games ceremonies and protocol

  • How do the Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies take place?
    • The philosophy and ceremonial aspects which surround the Olympic Games distinguish them from all other international sports events. Through music, song, dance and fireworks, the opening and closing ceremonies invite people to discover the culture of the country in which the Games are taking place.

      In addition to these celebrations, there are some very precise rituals at the ceremonies. It was at the 1920 Games in Antwerp that most of this protocol was put in place. It has been developed over subsequent editions of the Games.

      Today, Rule 55 of the Olympic Charter specifies some of the protocol that has to be followed during the ceremonies and the words used by the head of state of the host country to open the Games. The other main points of the opening ceremony are:

      • The entrance of the host country head of state
      • The national anthem of the host country
      • The parade by the participants
      • The symbolic release of doves
      • The opening of the Games by the host country head of state
      • The Olympic anthem, played as the Olympic flag is brought into the stadium and hoisted
      • The Olympic oath taken by an athlete
      • The Olympic oath taken by an official
      • The Olympic oath taken by a coach
      • The final leg of the Olympic torch relay and the lighting of the cauldron
      • The artistic programme

      Learn more:

  • Why does an athlete take the oath at the Olympic Games?
    • When an athlete swears the Olympic oath at the opening ceremony, he or she undertakes, in the name of all the other competitors, to abide by the rules and take part in the competitions in a spirit of sportsmanship.

      The taking of the Olympic oath by an athlete has been part of the protocol of the opening ceremony since the 1920 Games in Antwerp. The text of the oath, written by Pierre de Coubertin, was modified at the 2000 Games in Sydney, and now includes a phrase affirming the athletes’ commitment not to use drugs.

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  • What is the Olympic oath?
    • The Olympic oath was first sworn by Belgian fencer Victor Boin at the 1920 Games in Antwerp. It is part of the protocol of the Opening Ceremony, and is taken by an athlete from the host country, on behalf of all the other athletes.

      The Oath is similar to the one sworn by the athletes at the ancient Olympic Games. The only difference is that now the athletes take the oath holding the Olympic flag rather than on the entrails of a sacrificial animal.

      The modern Olympic oath was written by Pierre de Coubertin. It has been modified over time to reflect the changing nature of sports competition.

      The current Oath, which refers to doping and drugs, was introduced in December 1999, and was sworn for the first time at the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney:
      In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams.”

      It was not until 1972 that a judge or an official also swore an oath at the Opening Ceremony of the Games and 2012, at the London Games, that a coach also swore an oath.

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  • When did an athlete first take the Olympic oath?
    • The Olympic oath was first sworn by Belgian fencer Victor Boin at the 1920 Games in Antwerp.

      It was worded as follows : "We swear that we are taking part in the Olympic Games as loyal competitors, observing the rules governing the Games, and anxious to show a spirit of chivalry for the honour of our countries and for the glory of sport".

      The wording has changed since, and today reads: “In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."

      It was not until 1972 that a judge or an official also swore an oath at the Opening Ceremony of the Games and 2012, at the London Games, that a coach also swore an oath.

      Learn more:

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    History and origin of the Games

  • When did women first compete in the Olympic Games?
  • Why are the Olympic Games held every four years?
    • To respect the ancient origins of the Olympic Games, which were held every four years at Olympia.

      The four-year interval between the Ancient Games editions was named an “Olympiad”, and was used for dating purposes at the time: time was counted in Olympiads rather than years.  

      In 1894, Pierre de Coubertin launched his plan to revive the Olympic Games, and in 1896 the first Games of the modern era were held in Athens. Today, an Olympiad begins on the first of January of the first year and ends on the thirty-first of December of the fourth year.

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  • What is the origin of the Olympic Games?
    • The history of the Games goes back around 3,000 years, to the Peloponnese in Ancient Greece. Sports contests organised at Olympia took place every four years and acquired the name Olympic Games.

      We do not know exactly when they started, but the date of 776 BC is often cited in written sources. The exact reasons for the birth of the Games are still unknown, as history has become mixed up with mythology.

      The four-year interval between the Ancient Games editions was named an “Olympiad”, and was used for dating purposes at the time: time was counted in Olympiads rather than years. 

      In 1894, Pierre de Coubertin launched his plan to revive the Olympic Games, and in 1896 the first Games of the modern era were held in Athens.

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  • Who was Pierre de Coubertin?
    • Baron Pierre de Coubertin was the founder of the modern Olympic Games. Inspired by the ancient Olympic Games held in Olympia, Greece, which ended in 393 AD, Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin decided to pursue his project to revive the Olympic Games. A man who devoted his life to education, history and sociology, in 1894 he founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help build a peaceful and better world by educating young people through sport. The first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896 in Athens.

      Born in Paris in 1863, Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, came from an aristocratic family. He was a very keen sportsman, who enjoyed boxing, fencing, horse-riding and rowing. He firmly believed that sport was the key to developing mental energy. He was behind the creation of the five-ring Olympic symbol in 1913, the Olympic Charter and protocol, the athletes’ oath and the main components of the Games opening and closing ceremonies. It was also he who said: “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”

      Between 1896 and 1925, he was IOC President. He died in Geneva, Switzerland, on 2 September 1937. In accordance with his last wishes, his heart was laid to rest in Olympia, Greece, in the marble stele which commemorates the revival of the Olympic Games.

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  • Since when have the Summer and Winter Games no longer been held in the same year?
    • At its 1986 Session in Lausanne, the IOC decided to introduce this change. From 1924 to 1992, the Summer and Winter Games were each held in the same year, every four years. This four years period is called "Olympiad". The last Summer and Winter Games held in the same year were in Barcelona (Summer) and Albertville (Winter) in 1992. Since then, the Summer and Winter Games are each still held every four years but the Summer Games are celebrated during the first year of an Olympiad and the Winter Games held in the third year.

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  • When were the first Olympic Winter Games held?
    • The first Winter Games were held in Chamonix (France), in 1924. Initially called the “International Winter Sports Week”, this event was renamed the “1st Olympic Winter Games” only in 1926 at the IOC Session in Lisbon.

      The decision to create a separate Winter Games cycle was taken at the 1925 IOC Session in Prague.

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  • Which sports were on the programme of the ancient Olympic Games?
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    Using the content of this website

  • Is it possible to use the content (texts, images or films) on www.olympic.org?
    • No part of the site may be copied, republished, stored in a data search and retrieval system, reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written authorisation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

      You should therefore make any request as detailed as possible, and in all cases include the following information:

      • Who is making the request:
        Family name, given name, full address, telephone and/or fax number and email address.
        Institution, organisation, commercial company, museum or private individual.
      • Precise details of the content (texts, images or films)
      • The intended use to be made of the content:
        Private use (no distribution), school work, group event, exhibition or production/broadcast.

      Image or video requests should be sent to images@olympic.org. Text content requests should be sent to webdesk@olympic.org.

  • What are the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s rules on exchanging links?
    • For outgoing links:
      The IOC’s policy on outgoing links (from www.olympic.org to an external website) is to allow only associations, clubs and other organisations belonging to the Olympic Movement (National Olympic Committees [NOCs], Organising Committees for the Olympic Games [OCOGs], International Federations [IFs], commercial partners and IOC-recognised organisations) to have a link on www.olympic.org.

      Incoming links:
      Links to www.olympic.org are generally accepted. However, they must be in text form only, and use of the Olympic rings is strictly forbidden to anyone not entitled to use them. In addition, wherever possible, links should be to the home page of the website.
      In no cases may a link be used for commercial purposes.

  • Olympic studies

  • I’m looking for Olympic photos or videos: what do I do?
    • You can consult:

      You can find HD photos of IOC events on Flickr.

      For archive photos and professional videos, please send an email to: images@olympic.org

      Please note that the photo and audio-visual archives are reserved for professionals (agencies, publishers, production companies), academic work and the Olympic family. It is therefore not possible to follow up on private requests.

  • How can I obtain information on the Games for work with my class?
    • Files are available in the “Documents” section (at the bottom of the page). The themes covered are:

      1. The Olympic Games in Ancient Greece
      2. The Modern Olympic Games
      3. Olympism and the Olympic Movement
      4. The Olympic Games Posters
      5. The Olympic Flame and Torch Relay

      With an educational goal, those wishing to obtain an edited version of the documents (high quality images) can contact: edu.museum@olympic.org

  • I would like to buy a DVD copy of the Opening Ceremony of one edition of the Olympic Games. How do I do so?
    • The access to the IOC audiovisual archives is reserved for professional entities such as agencies, broadcasters, production companies, academic work and the Olympic family. Therefore it is unfortunately not possible to follow up on private requests.

  • Which of the Olympic Movement's official publications are available at the Olympic Studies Centre?
      • Olympic Games Candidature Files (since 1924)
      • Official Reports of the Olympic Games (since 1896)
      • Publications by the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (since 1896)
      • Olympic Reviews (since 1894)
      • Olympic Charters (since 1908)
      • Olympic Movement Directories (since 1969)
      • Publications by Pierre de Coubertin
      • Publications by the International Olympic Committee and The Olympic Museum
      • Official publications by the International Olympic Sports Federations and National Olympic Committees (since 1969)

      The majority of these publications are available in electronic format.

      The library of the Olympic Studies Centre also offers a vast collection on the Olympic sports and sports sciences, and also has a valuable collection of rare and ancient works. It has over 20,000 works, 420 reviews, including 50 in electronic format, as well as a selection of e-books and DVDs.

      Since May 2012, the library has been located at the Villa du Centenaire, a historic building located near The Olympic Museum (north side).
      Free access to and loans of publications. International loans available.

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  • What themes are available at the library?
      • The IOC and the Olympic Movement
      • The ancient Olympic Games, the modern Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games
      • Olympic sports
      • Olympic athletes
      • Sports sciences: philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics, security, management, economy, marketing/sponsorship, law, education, medicine, technology, architecture and city planning, arts and culture, media, tourism, the environment, and history.

      It has over 20,000 works, 420 reviews, including 50 in electronic format, as well as a selection of e-books and DVDs.

      Since May 2012, the library has been located at the Villa du Centenaire, a historic building located near The Olympic Museum (north side).
      Free access to and loans of publications. International loans available.

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  • How can I come to make an on-the-spot research at the Olympic Studies Centre (OSC)?
    • You can send a request using this form. On receipt of the form and a check on availability, a staff member will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your visit.

      The Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) constitutes one the greatest centres in the world of written, visual and audio information on the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games.
      The OSC collections include library documents and historical archives.

      NB: Access to the collections is free of charge but all associated costs (travel, accommodation, photocopies, etc.) are borne by the researcher.

      Learn more:

  • What are the collections kept by the IOC’s Historical Archives?
    • The archives fonds retrace the history of the IOC and the Olympic Movement since their creation in 1894 to the present day (except for the last 20 years of activity). They are made up of text documents (paper files) and three collections of microfilms equivalent to a total of one linear kilometre of documents, or approximately 20,000 files.

      The classification of IOC archive fonds reflects the organisation and the activities of the institution over time and is as follows:

      • The IOC Presidents
      • The IOC’s decision-making bodies
      • The Olympic Games
      • The IOC’s relations with the Olympic Movement
      • The IOC’s external relations 
      • The IOC administration
      • The Olympic Museum
      • The fonds related to the Olympic Movement
      • Private fonds: Paul Martin, Charles Waldstein, Francis Messerli, Albert Mayer and Otto Mayer
      • Olympic marketing

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  • How can I come to consult the archive documents at the Olympic Studies Centre or obtain copies of archive documents?
    • The IOC archive documents may only be consulted on-the-spot at the Olympic Studies Centre.

      Anyone who wants to carry out research using the archives must first complete the following electronic form.

      Most of the archive documents are accessible only 20 years after they have been produced. Others have greater access restrictions.

      It is therefore recommended that you read the access rules before coming.

  • How to get a research grant?
    • By applying to one of the two yearly research grants programmes organised by the IOC Olympic Studies Centre (OSC):

      PhD Research Grant Programme
      The objective of this programme is to support researchers in the beginning of their careers. It is addressed to all PhD students preparing a PhD thesis in one or more of the disciplines within the human and social sciences and having Olympism, Olympic sports or the Olympic Games as one of their research topics.

      Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme
      The second programme encourages established researchers working in IOC priority fields of research. University professors, lecturers and research fellows who have completed their doctorate (or equivalent terminal degree) and who currently hold an academic/research appointment are eligible to apply.

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  • Where can I find a list of research projects awarded?
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    Olympic documents

    Visit the Olympic.org documents repository to find a list of all documents published on this website. This section contains the major reports, studies, publications and information regarding the Olympic Movement.

    View documents

    Olympic studies

    The IOC Olympic Studies Centre is the world source of reference for Olympic knowledge. As an integral part of the IOC, we are uniquely placed to provide the most accurate, relevant and up-to-date information on Olympism.

    Learn more