The Olympics

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The Olympics

Can it really be four years since we marvelled at the Beijing Olympics? The triumphs, failures and sheer spectacle of the world’s most prestigious sporting event?
Yes, this year will see us glued to our TV screens again, apart from those lucky enough to be present in England, to watch the dramas unfold during the games of the 30th Olympiad in London, the third time the Olympics have been held in London.

The history of the Olympic Games dates back to 776 BC, inscriptions found at Olympia, in Greece, tell of footraces, discus and javelin throwing, wrestling and boxing events held every four years. After flourishing until the sixth and fifth centuries BC, the Olympics faded in importance as the Greek Empire faded.
Interest in the idea of the Olympic Games was re-ignited in 1890, with the formation of the International Olympics Committee (IOC), which led to the first modern day Olympics being held in Athens in 1896. Since then, the Olympics have been held every four years in cities across the world, with the exception of the 1940 games, cancelled because of World War II.

Ever since London was selected as the host city in a controversial ballot in 2005, work has been underway to create the massive infrastructure needed to stage the games. The London games will use a mixture of existing venues, such as Wembley Stadium and the Wimbledon All-England Tennis Club, together with newly created Olympic Stadium and a 500-acre Olympic Park created in the poorer areas of East London.
Several sports will be hosted by venues outside London, such as sailing events at Weymouth on the south coast, rowing and canoe sprints at Eton Dorney, near Windsor Castle to the west of London and mountain biking at a new venue at Hadleigh Farm in Essex to the north east of London. Many football matches will be played at famous grounds including Old Trafford, Manchester, Hampden Park in Glasgow and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

What can we look forward to in London later this year? Will the games unearth another swimming champion to rival the magic of Michael Phelps? Will the legendary Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe stage a come back after his Sydney 2000 Olympic performances and subsequent retirement?

On the track, can we expect more record-breaking exploits from the phenomenal Usain Bolt?

As usual with the Olympic Games, we can expect the unexpected, thrill to the champions and sympathise with the vanquished. Whatever happens, all but the most cynical will spend their time between July 27 and August 12 this year being spellbound by the world’s top sports people, and then do it all over again in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.

 

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