Another Olympiad is upon us. As I’ve gotten older, the Games seem to roll around faster every four years, but that’s okay. I relish them even though they are a far cry from the amateur status of years gone by.
Here are a few interesting tidbits of Olympic history:
Sorry USA – despite a regular strong showing every four years, the USA has not always participated in the games. Only Greece, Great Britain, France, Switzerland and Australia have been represented at the Summer Olympics since the modern inception in 1896 although not always as part of official teams. Only Greece has participated under its own flag each time.
The Olympic rings, according to The Olympic Museum’s The Olympic Symbols, represent the five continents. Five? I’ve read that they represented the land masses which combine Europe and Asia or that the Americas (North and South) have been counted together. Regardless, the colors are symbolic of participating flags. According to Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympics, “…the six colours [including the white background] are those that appear on all national flags of the world at the present time.” (1931).
The Olympic creed is one we can all live by: “The most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.” Words to embrace. More recently: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”
No matter what you do, play hard, play fair.