With the 2012 Summer Olympic games scheduled for July, here’s some history about these athletic competitions to ponder as we anticipate the opening ceremonies in London.

In ancient Greece, the games were played in Olympia, Greece with only male athletes from the Mediterranean competing. When Rome conquered this region in AD 393, the games ended.

It wasn’t until 1896, that the first modern Olympics began because an interest in athletics and sports increased. The official symbol of the games became the 5 rings linked together indicating the uniting of athletes from the 5 continents of North and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

The Olympic flame is the link between the ancient and modern games. Runners carry the flame on a torch in a relay from the Temple of Zeus at Olympia to the host country. Athletes will compete in 26 sports ranging from archery to wrestling hoping to win gold medals for placing first in their sport.

Silver medals are awarded to second place and bronze to third place finishes. Even though you may not be an elite Olympic-bound athlete, be sure to tune in and watch them in action!

Content provided by Oakland University


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