Summer Olympic Games

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The Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad (French: Jeux olympiques d'été [2]), first held in 1896, are an international multi-sport event, occurring every four years, organized by the International Olympic Committee. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, a tradition that started in 1904. The Winter Olympic Games were also created due to the success of the Summer Olympics.

The Olympics have increased from a 42-event competition with fewer than 250 male competitors from 14 nations to a 300-event sporting celebration with over 10,000 competitors from 205 nations. Organizers for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing expected approximately 10,500 competitors to take part in the 302 events on the program for the games.[3]

Eighteen countries have hosted the Summer Olympics, with Great Britain 2012 being the most recent. The United States has hosted four Summer Olympics, more than any other nation, and Great Britain has hosted three Summer Olympics, all in London. Three cities have hosted two Summer Olympics: Los Angeles, Paris and Athens.

The only Olympics held in the Southern Hemisphere so far have both been in Australia (Melbourne 1956 and Sydney 2000). In 2016, Rio de Janeiro will host the first Summer Games in South America.

Five countries – Greece, Australia, France, Great Britain and Switzerland – have been represented at all Summer Olympic Games. The only country to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Olympic Games is Great Britain, ranging from one gold in 1904, 1952 and 1996 to fifty-six golds in 1908.


Qualification rules for each of the Olympic sports are set by the International Sports Federations (IFs) that governs that sport's international competition.[4]

For individual sports, competitors typically qualify through attaining a certain place in a major international event or on the IF's ranking list. There is a general rule that maximum three individual athletes may represent each nation per competition. National Olympic committees may enter a limited number of qualified competitors in each event, and the NOC decides which qualified competitors to select as representatives in each event if more have attained the benchmark than can be entered.[4][5]

Nations most often qualify teams for team sports through continental qualifying tournaments, in which each continental association is given a certain number of sports in the Olympic tournament. Each nation may be represented by no more than one team per competition.


The United States has hosted four Summer Olympic Games, more than any other nation. The United Kingdom hosted the 2012 Olympic games, its third Summer Olympic Games, in its capital London, making London the first city to host the Summer Olympic Games three times. Australia, France, Germany and Greece have all hosted the Summer Olympic Games twice. Other countries that have hosted the Summer Olympics are Belgium, China, Canada, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, the Soviet Union and Sweden. In 2016, Rio de Janeiro will host the first Summer Games in South America. Three cities have hosted two Summer Olympic Games: Los Angeles, Paris and Athens. Stockholm, Sweden, has hosted events at two Summer Olympic Games, having hosted the games in 1912 and the equestrian events at the 1956 Summer Olympics—which they are usually listed as jointly hosting.[6] Events at the Summer Olympics have also been held in Hong Kong and the Netherlands, with the equestrian events at the 2008 Summer Olympics being held in Sha Tin and Kwu Tung, Hong Kong and two sailing races at the 1920 Summer Olympics being held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tokyo, Japan will be the host city, hosting for the second time, the first being the 1964 Summer Games.


Early years

The opening ceremony of the first Olympic Games in the Panathenaic Stadium

The modern Olympic Games were founded in 1894 when Pierre de Coubertin sought to promote international understanding through sporting competition. He based his Olympics on the Wenlock Olympian Society Annual Games, which had been contested in Much Wenlock since 1850.[7] The first edition of de Coubertin's games, held in Athens in 1896, attracted just 245 competitors, of whom more than 200 were Greek, and only 14 countries were represented. Nevertheless, no international events of this magnitude had been organized before. Female athletes were not allowed to compete, though one woman, Stamata Revithi, ran the marathon course on her own, saying "[i]f the committee doesn’t let me compete I will go after them regardless".[8]

The 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in Athens, Greece, from 6 to 15 April 1896. It was the first Olympic Games held in the Modern era. Ancient Greece was the birthplace of the Olympic Games, consequently Athens was perceived to be an appropriate choice to stage the inaugural modern Games. It was unanimously chosen as the host city during a congress organized by Pierre de Coubertin, a French pedagogue and historian, in Paris, on 23 June 1894. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was also established during this congress.

Despite many obstacles and setbacks, the 1896 Olympics were regarded as a great success. The Games had the largest international participation of any sporting event to that date. Panathinaiko Stadium, the first big stadium in the modern world, overflowed with the largest crowd ever to watch a sporting event.[9] The highlight for the Greeks was the marathon victory by their compatriot Spiridon Louis, a water carrier. He won at the Olympics in 2 hours 58 minutes and 50 seconds, setting off wild celebrations at the stadium. The most successful competitor was German wrestler and gymnast Carl Schuhmann, who won four gold medals.

After the Games, Coubertin and the IOC were petitioned by several prominent figures including Greece's King George and some of the American competitors in Athens, to hold all the following Games in Athens. However, the 1900 Summer Olympics were already planned for Paris and, except for the 1906 Intercalated Games, the Olympics did not return to Greece until the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Four years later the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris attracted more than four times as many athletes, including 20 women, who were allowed to officially compete for the first time, in croquet, golf, sailing, and tennis. The Games were integrated with the Paris World's Fair and lasted over 5 months. It is still disputed which events exactly were Olympic, since few or maybe even none of the events were advertised as such at the time.

Dorando Pietri finishes the modern marathon at the current distance

Numbers declined for the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, due in part to the lengthy transatlantic boat trip required of the European competitors, and the integration with the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World's Fair, which again spread the event out over an extended period. In contrast with Paris 1900, the word Olympic was used for practically every contest, including those exclusively for school boys or for Irish-Americans.

A series of smaller games were held in Athens in 1906. The IOC does not currently recognize these games as being official Olympic Games, although many historians do. The 1906 Athens games were the first of an alternating series of games to be held in Athens, but the series failed to materialize. The games were more successful than the 1900 and 1904 games, with over 900 athletes competing, and contributed positively to the success of future games.

The 1908 London Games saw numbers rise again, as well as the first running of the marathon over its now-standard distance of 42.195 km (26 miles 385 yards). The first Olympic Marathon in 1896 (a male-only race) was raced at a distance of 40 km (24 miles 85 yards). The new marathon distance was chosen to ensure that the race finished in front of the box occupied by the British royal family. Thus the marathon had been 40 km (24.9 mi) for the first games in 1896, but was subsequently varied by up to 2 km (1.2 mi) due to local conditions such as street and stadium layout. At the six Olympic games between 1900 and 1920, the marathon was raced over six different distances.

At the end of the 1908 marathon the Italian runner Dorando Pietri was first to enter the stadium, but he was clearly in distress, and collapsed of exhaustion before he could complete the event. He was helped over the finish line by concerned race officials, but later he was disqualified and the gold medal was awarded to John Hayes, who had trailed him by around 30 seconds.

The Games continued to grow, attracting 2,504 competitors, to Stockholm in 1912, including the great all-rounder Jim Thorpe, who won both the decathlon and pentathlon. Thorpe had previously played a few games of baseball for a fee, and saw his medals stripped for this breach of amateurism after complaints from Avery Brundage. They were reinstated in 1983, 30 years after his death. The Games at Stockholm were the first to fulfill Pierre de Coubertin's original idea. For the first time since the Games started in 1896 were all five inhabited continents represented with athletes competing in the same stadium.

The scheduled 1916 Summer Olympics were cancelled following the onset of World War I.

Interwar era

The 1920 Antwerp games in war-ravaged Belgium were a subdued affair, but again drew a record number of competitors. This record only stood until 1924, when the Paris Games involved 3,000 competitors, the greatest of whom was Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi. The "Flying Finn" won three team gold medals and the individual 1,500 and 5,000 meter runs, the latter two on the same day.

The 1928 Amsterdam games were notable for being the first games which allowed females to compete at track & field athletics, and benefited greatly from the general prosperity of the times alongside the first appearance of sponsorship of the games, from Coca-Cola. The 1928 games saw the introduction of a standard medal design with the IOC choosing Giuseppe Cassioli's depiction of Greek goddess Nike and a winner being carried by a crowd of people. This design was used up until 1972.

The 1932 Los Angeles games were affected by the Great Depression, which contributed to the low number of competitors (the fewest since the St. Louis games). The 1936 Berlin Games were seen by the German government as a golden opportunity to promote their ideology. The ruling Nazi Party commissioned film-maker Leni Riefenstahl to film the games. The result, Olympia, was a masterpiece, despite Hitler's theories of Aryan racial superiority being repeatedly shown up by "non-Aryan" athletes. In particular, African-American sprinter and long jumper Jesse Owens won four gold medals. The tale of Hitler snubbing Owens at the ensuing medal ceremony is a myth.[10] The 1936 Berlin Games also saw the reintroduction of the Torch Relay.[11]

Due to World War II, the Games of 1940 (due to be held in Tokyo and temporarily relocated to Helsinki upon the outbreak of war) were cancelled. The Games of 1944 were due to be held in London but were also cancelled; instead, London hosted the first games after the end of the war, in 1948.

After World War II

The first post-war Games were held in 1948 in London, with both Germany and Japan excluded. Dutch sprinter Fanny Blankers-Koen won four gold medals on the track, emulating Owens' achievement in Berlin.

At the 1952 Games in Helsinki the USSR team competed for the first time and immediately became one of the dominant teams. Finland made a legend of an amiable Czechoslovak army lieutenant named Emil Zátopek, who was intent on improving on his single gold and silver medals from 1948. Having first won both the 10,000 and 5,000 meter races, he also entered the marathon, despite having never previously raced at that distance. Pacing himself by chatting with the other leaders, Zátopek led from about half way, slowly dropping the remaining contenders to win by two and a half minutes, and completed a trio of wins.

The 1956 Melbourne Games were largely successful, barring a water polo match between Hungary and the Soviet Union, which political tensions caused to end as a pitched battle between the teams. Due to a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Britain at the time and the strict quarantine laws of Australia, the equestrian events were held in Stockholm.

At the 1960 Rome Games a young light-heavyweight boxer named Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, arrived on the scene. Ali would later throw his gold medal away in disgust after being refused service in a whites-only restaurant in his home town of Louisville, Kentucky.[12] Soviet women's artistic gymnastics team members won 15 of 16 possible medals. Other performers of note in 1960 included Wilma Rudolph, a gold medalist in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4 × 100 meters relay events.

The 1964 Games held in Tokyo are notable for heralding the modern age of telecommunications. These games were the first to be broadcast worldwide on television, enabled by the recent advent of communication satellites. The 1964 Games were thus a turning point in the global visibility and popularity of the Olympics. Judo debuted as an official sport, and Dutch judoka Anton Geesink created quite a stir when he won the final of the open weight division, defeating Akio Kaminaga in front of his home crowd.

Performances at the 1968 Mexico City games were affected by the altitude of the host city,[13] specifically the long jump, in which American athlete Bob Beamon jumped 8.90 meters. Beamon's world record would stand for 23 years. The 1968 Games also introduced the now-universal Fosbury flop, a technique which won American high jumper Dick Fosbury the gold medal. Politics took center stage in the medal ceremony for the men's 200 meter dash, where Tommie Smith and John Carlos made a protest gesture on the podium against the segregation in the United States; their political act was condemned within the Olympic Movement, but was praised in the American Civil Rights Movement.

Politics again intervened at Munich in 1972, with lethal consequences. A Palestinian terrorist group named Black September invaded the Olympic village and broke into the apartment of the Israeli delegation. They killed two Israelis and held 9 others as hostages. The terrorists demanded that Israel release numerous prisoners. When the Israeli government refused their demand, a tense stand-off ensued while negotiations continued. Eventually the captors, still holding their hostages, were offered safe passage and taken to an airport, where they were ambushed by German security forces. In the firefight that followed, 15 people, including the nine Israeli athletes and five of the terrorists, were killed. After much debate, it was decided that the Games would continue, but proceedings were obviously dominated by these events.[14] Some memorable athletic achievements did occur during these Games, notably the winning of a then-record seven gold medals by United States swimmer Mark Spitz, Lasse Virén (of Finland)'s back-to-back gold in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters (defeating American distance running great Steve Prefontaine in the former), and the winning of three gold medals by 16-year-old Soviet gymnastic sensation Olga Korbut - who thrilled the world with an historic backflip off the high bar. Korbut, however, failed to win the all-around, losing to her teammate Ludmilla Tourischeva.

There was no such tragedy in Montreal in 1976, but bad planning and fraud led to the Games' cost far exceeding the budget. The Montreal Games were the most expensive in Olympic history, until the 2008 Summer Olympics, costing over $5 billion (equivalent to $20 billion in 2006). For a time, it seemed that the Olympics might no longer be a viable financial proposition. In retrospect, the belief that contractors (suspected of being members of the Montreal Mafia) skimmed large sums of money from all levels of contracts while also profiting from the substitution of cheaper building materials of lesser quality, may have contributed to the delays, poor construction and excessive costs. In 1988, one such contractor, Giuseppe Zappia "was cleared of fraud charges that resulted from his work on Olympic facilities after two key witnesses died before testifying at his trial."[15] There was also a boycott by African nations to protest against a recent tour of apartheid-run South Africa by the New Zealand national rugby union team. The Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci won the women's individual all around gold medal with two of four possible perfect scores, thus giving birth to a gymnastics dynasty in Romania. Another female gymnast to earn the perfect score and three gold medals there was Nellie Kim of the USSR. Lasse Virén repeated his double gold in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, making him the only athlete to ever win the distance double twice.

End of the 20th century

Following the Soviet Union's 1979 invasion of Afghanistan, 66 nations, including the United States, Canada, West Germany, and Japan, boycotted the 1980 games held in Moscow. The boycott contributed to the 1980 Games being a less publicised and less competitive affair, which was dominated by the host country.

In 1984 the Soviet Union and 13 Soviet allies reciprocated by boycotting the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Romania, notably, was one of the nations in the Eastern Bloc that did attend the 1984 Olympics. These games were perhaps the first games of a new era to make a profit. The games were again viable, but had become more commercial. Again, without the participation of the Eastern European countries, the 1984 Games were dominated by their host country. The Games were also the first time mainland China (People's Republic) participated.

The 1988 games, in Seoul, were very well planned but the games were tainted when many of the athletes, most notably men's 100 metres winner Ben Johnson, failed mandatory drug tests. Despite splendid drug-free performances by many individuals, the number of people who failed screenings for performance-enhancing chemicals overshadowed the games.

The 1992 Barcelona Games featured increased professionalism among Olympic athletes, exemplified by US basketball's "Dream Team". The 1992 games also saw the reintroduction to the Games of several smaller European states which had been incorporated into the Soviet Union since World War II. These games also saw gymnast Vitaly Scherbo equal the record for most individual gold medals at a single Games set by Eric Heiden in the 1980 Winter Games, with five.

By then the process of choosing a location for the Games had itself become a commercial concern; allegations of corruption rocked the International Olympic Committee. In the Atlanta games in 1996, the highlight was 200 meters runner Michael Johnson annihilating the world record in front of a home crowd. Canadians savored Donovan Bailey's record-breaking gold medal run in the 100-meter dash. This was popularly felt to be an appropriate recompense for the previous national disgrace involving Ben Johnson. There were also emotional scenes, such as when Muhammad Ali, clearly affected by Parkinson's disease, lit the Olympic torch and received a replacement medal for the one he had discarded in 1960. The latter event took place not at the boxing ring but in the basketball arena, at the demand of US television. The atmosphere at the Games was marred, however, when a bomb exploded during the celebration in Centennial Olympic Park. In June 2003, the principal suspect in this bombing, Eric Robert Rudolph, was arrested.

The 2000 Summer Olympics held in Sydney, Australia, known as the "Games of the New Millennium".

New millennium

The 2000 Games were held in Sydney, Australia, and showcased individual performances by local favorite Ian Thorpe in the pool, Briton Steve Redgrave who won a rowing gold medal in an unprecedented fifth consecutive Olympics, and Cathy Freeman, an Indigenous Australian whose triumph in the 400 meters united a packed stadium. Eric "the Eel" Moussambani, a swimmer from Equatorial Guinea, had a memorably slow 100 meter freestyle swim that showed that, even in the commercial world of the twentieth century, some of de Coubertin's original vision still remained.[16] The Sydney Games were also memorable for the first appearance of a joint North and South Korean contingent (to a standing ovation) at the opening ceremonies, even if they competed as different countries. Controversy did not escape the 2000 Games in Women's Artistic Gymnastics, in which the vaulting horse was set to the wrong height during the All Around Competition. Several athletes faltered, including Russian Svetlana Khorkina, who had been favored to win gold after qualifying for the competition in first place.

In 2004 the Games returned to their birthplace in Athens, Greece. Greece spent at least $7.2 billion on the Games, including $1.5 billion on security alone. Nonetheless, the Men's Gymnastics events were mired in controversy when it was discovered that Korean gymnast Yang Tae Young had been incorrectly credited with a lower start value, which placed him third behind American Paul Hamm, who won the competition. Later in the event finals, fans halted the Men's High Bar competition with chants of disapproval following the release of the score for Russian Alexei Nemov. Allegations of corrupt judging also marred the event finals in men's still rings. Although unfounded and wildly sensationalized reports of potential terrorism drove crowds away from the preliminary competitions of the first weekend of the games (14–15 August), attendance picked up as the games progressed. Still, a third of the tickets failed to sell.[17] The Athens Games witnessed all 202 NOCs participate with over 11,000 participants.

The 2008 Summer Olympics were held in Beijing, People's Republic of China. This Olympics was the subject of much controversy, especially following the March Tibetan riots. Human rights activists unsuccessfully called for a boycott, and some even compared the 2008 Olympics to the 1936 ones held in Nazi Germany. Several new events were held, including the new discipline of BMX for both men and women. For the first time, women competed in the steeplechase. The fencing program was expanded to include all six events for both men and women. Women had not previously been able to compete in team foil or saber events (although women's team épée and men's team foil were dropped for these Games). Marathon swimming events, over the distance of 10 km (6.2 mi), were added. In addition, the doubles events in table tennis were replaced by team events.[3] American swimmer Michael Phelps set a record for gold medals at a single Games with eight, and tied the record of most gold medals by a single competitor previously held by both Heiden and Scherbo. Another major star of the Games was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who became the first male athlete ever to set world records in the finals of both the 100 and 200 metres in the same Games. Equestrian events were held in Hong Kong.

London held the 2012 Summer Olympics, becoming the first city to host the Games three times. In his closing address the IOC President, Jacques Rogge described the Games as "Happy and Glorious". They certainly were for the host nation who won 29 Gold Medals, the best haul for Great Britain since the 1908 Games in London. It was also notable that the United States returned to the top of the medal table after China dominated in 2008. The International Olympic Committee had removed baseball and softball from the 2012 program. On a commercial level the Games were successful as they were the first in history to completely sell out every ticket with as many as 1 million applications for 40,000 tickets for both the Opening Ceremony and the 100m Men's Sprint Final. Such was the demand for tickets to all levels of each event, there was controversy when seats set aside for sponsors and National Delegations went unused in the early days. A system of reallocation was put in place so the empty seats were filled throughout the Games.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will host the 2016 Summer Olympics, becoming the third city in the Southern Hemisphere to host the Olympic Games (after Melbourne, Australia, in 1956 and Sydney, Australia, in 2000), and the first South American city to host the Olympics.[18] In October 2009, the IOC included golf and rugby sevens as part of the Olympic program for Rio de Janeiro. Tokyo, Japan, will host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

All-time medal table

With reference to the top ten nations and according to official data of the International Olympic Committee.

   Past nations
No. Nation Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (USA) 26 976 758 666 2400
2  Soviet Union (URS) 9 395 319 296 1010
3  Great Britain (GBR) 27 236 272 272 780
4  France (FRA) 27 202 223 246 671
5  China (CHN) 9 201 144 128 473
6  Italy (ITA) 26 198 166 185 549
7  Germany (GER) 15 174 182 217 573
8  Hungary (HUN) 25 167 144 165 476
9  East Germany (GDR) 5 153 129 127 409
10  Sweden (SWE) 26 143 164 176 483
11  Australia (AUS) 25 138 153 177 468
12  Russia (RUS) 5 133 122 142 397

List of Olympic sports

Forty-two different sports, spanning 55 different disciplines, have been part of the Olympic program at one point or another. Twenty-eight sports have comprised the schedule for three of the recent games, 2000, 2004, and 2008 Summer Olympics. Due to the removal of baseball and softball, there was a total of 26 sports in the 2012 Games.[19]

The various Olympic Sports federations are grouped under a common umbrella association, called the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).

Sport Years
Archery 1900–1908, 1920, since 1972
Athletics All
Badminton Since 1992
Baseball 1992–2008
Basketball Since 1936
Basque pelota 1900
Boxing 1904, 1908, since 1920
Canoeing and kayaking Since 1936
Cricket 1900
Croquet 1900
Cycling All
Diving Since 1904
Equestrian 1900, since 1912
Fencing All
Football (Soccer) 1900–1928, since 1936
Golf 1900, 1904, 2016, 2020
Gymnastics All
Handball 1936, since 1972
Hockey (field) 1908, 1920, since 1928
Jeu de paume 1908
Judo 1964, since 1972
Lacrosse 1904, 1908
Modern pentathlon Since 1912
Sport Years
Polo 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924, 1936
Rackets 1908
Rhythmic gymnastics Since 1984
Roque 1904
Rowing Since 1900
Rugby union 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924
Rugby sevens 2016, 2020
Sailing 1900, since 1908
Shooting 1896, 1900, 1908–1924, since 1932
Softball 1996–2008
Swimming All
Synchronized Swimming Since 1984
Table tennis Since 1988
Taekwondo Since 2000
Tennis 1896–1924, since 1988
Trampoline Since 2000
Triathlon Since 2000
Tug of war 1900–1920
Volleyball Since 1964
Water motorsports 1908
Water Polo Since 1900
Weightlifting 1896, 1904, since 1920
Wrestling 1896, since 1904

Popularity of Olympic sports

Summer Olympic sports are divided into categories based on popularity, gauged by six categories: television viewing figures (40%), internet popularity (20%), public surveys (15%), ticket requests (10%), press coverage (10%), and number of national federations (5%). The category determines the share the sport's International Federation receives of Olympic revenue.[20][21] Sports that are new to the 2016 Olympics (rugby and golf) have been placed in Category E.

The current categories are:

  • Category A: athletics, aquatics, gymnastics.
  • Category B: basketball, cycling, football (soccer), tennis, and volleyball.
  • Category C: archery, badminton, boxing, judo, rowing, shooting, table tennis, and weightlifting.
  • Category D: canoe/kayaking, equestrian, fencing, handball, field hockey, sailing, taekwondo, triathlon, and wrestling.
  • Category E: modern pentathlon, golf, and rugby.

List of modern Summer Olympic Games

Games Year Host Opened by Dates Nations Competitors Sports Disci-
Events Ref
Total Men Women
I 1896 Kingdom of Greece Athens, Greece King George I 6–15 April 14 241 241 0 9 10 43 [2]
II 1900 French Third Republic Paris, France N/A 14 May – 28 October 24 997 975 22 19 20 85A[›] [3]
III 1904 United States St. Louis, United States Governor David R. Francis 1 July – 23 November 12 651 645 6 16 17 94B[›] [4]
IV 1908 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland London, United Kingdom King Edward VII 27 April – 31 October 22 2008 1971 37 22 25 110 [5]
V 1912 Sweden Stockholm, Sweden King Gustaf V 6–22 July 28 2407 2359 48 14 18 102 [6]
VI 1916 Awarded to Berlin, cancelled due to World War I
VII 1920 Belgium Antwerp, Belgium King Albert I 20 April – 12 September 29 2626 2561 65 22 29 156C[›] [7]
VIII 1924 French Third Republic Paris, France President Gaston Doumergue 4 May – 27 July 44 3089 2954 135 17 23 126 [8]
IX 1928 Netherlands Amsterdam, Netherlands Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands 28 July – 12 August 46 2883 2606 277 14 20 109 [9]
X 1932 United States Los Angeles, United States Vice President Charles Curtis 30 July – 14 August 37 1332 1206 126 14 20 117 [10]
XI 1936 Nazi Germany Berlin, Germany Chancellor Adolf Hitler 1–16 August 49 3963 3632 331 19 25 129 [11]
XII 1940 Originally awarded to Tokyo, then awarded to Helsinki, cancelled due to World War II
XIII 1944 Awarded to London, cancelled due to World War II
XIV 1948 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom King George VI 29 July – 14 August 59 4104 3714 390 17 23 136 [12]
XV 1952 Finland Helsinki, Finland President Juho Kusti Paasikivi 19 July – 3 August 69 4955 4436 519 17 23 149 [13]
XVI 1956 Australia Melbourne, Australia Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh 22 November – 8 December 72D[›] 3314 2938 376 17 23 151E[›] [14]
XVII 1960 Italy Rome, Italy President Giovanni Gronchi 25 August – 11 September 83 5338 4727 611 17 23 150 [15]
XVIII 1964 Japan Tokyo, Japan Emperor Hirohito 10–24 October 93 5151 4473 678 19 25 163 [16]
XIX 1968 Mexico Mexico City, Mexico President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz 12–27 October 112 5516 4735 781 18 24 172 [17]
XX 1972 West Germany Munich, West Germany President Gustav Heinemann 26 August – 10 September 121 7134 6075 1059 21 28 195 [18]
XXI 1976 Canada Montreal, Canada Queen Elizabeth II 17 July – 1 August 92 6084 4824 1260 21 27 198 [19]
XXII 1980 Soviet Union Moscow, Soviet Union Chairman Leonid Brezhnev 19 July – 3 August 80 5179 4064 1115 21 27 203 [20]
XXIII 1984 United States Los Angeles, United States President Ronald Reagan 28 July – 12 August 140 6829 5263 1566 21 29 221 [21]
XXIV 1988 South Korea Seoul, South Korea President Roh Tae-woo 17 September – 2 October 159 8391 6197 2194 23 31 237 [22]
XXV 1992 Spain Barcelona, Spain King Juan Carlos I 25 July – 9 August 169 9356 6652 2704 25 34 257 [23]
XXVI 1996 United States Atlanta, United States President Bill Clinton 19 July – 4 August 197 10318 6806 3512 26 37 271 [24]
XXVII 2000 Australia Sydney, Australia Governor-General Sir William Deane 15 September – 1 October 199 10651 6582 4069 28 40 300 [25]
XXVIII 2004 Greece Athens, Greece President Konstantinos Stephanopoulos 13–29 August 201 10625 6296 4329 28 40 301 [26]
XXIX 2008 China Beijing, China President Hu Jintao 8–24 August 204 10942 6305 4637 28 41 302 [27]
XXX 2012 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom Queen Elizabeth II 27 July – 12 August 204 10568 5892 4676 26 39 302 [28]
XXXI 2016 Brazil Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 5–21 August Future event 28 41 306 [29]
XXXII 2020 Japan Tokyo, Japan 24 July – 9 August Future event
XXXIII 2024 Unknown City. City will be known in 2017 Future event
XXXIV 2028 Unknown City. City will be known in 2021 Future event
XXXV 2032 Unknown City. City will be known in 2025 Future event

^ A: The IOC site for the 1900 Olympic Games[22] gives erroneous figure of 95 events, while the IOC database for the 1900 Olympic Games[23] lists 85 ones. Probably this discrepancy in IOC data is consequence that the figure 95 just derived from the "1900 Olympic Games — Analysis and Summaries"[24] publication of Bill Mallon, who used his own determination of which sports and events should be considered as Olympic.
^ B: The IOC site for the 1904 Olympic Games[25] gives erroneous figure of 91 events, while the IOC database for the 1904 Olympic Games[26] lists 94 ones. Probably this discrepancy in IOC data is consequence that the figure 91 just derived from the "1904 Olympic Games — Analysis and Summaries"[27] publication of Bill Mallon, who used his own determination of which sports and events should be considered as Olympic.
^ C: The IOC site for the 1920 Olympic Games[28] gives erroneous figure of 154 events, while the IOC database for the 1920 Olympic Games[29] lists 156 ones.
^ D: Owing to Australian quarantine laws, 6 equestrian events were held in Stockholm several months before the rest of the 1956 Games in Melbourne, 5 nations from 72 competed in the equestrian events in Stockholm, but did not attend the Games in Melbourne.
^ E: The IOC site for the 1956 Olympic Games[30] gives figure of 145 events, however actually there was 151 (145 events in Melbourne and 6 equestrian events in Stockholm).

Note: Although the Games of 1916, 1940, and 1944 had been cancelled, the Roman numerals for those Games were still used because the Summer Games' official titles count Olympiads, not the Games themselves, per the Olympic Charter. This contrasts with the Winter Olympic Games, which ignore the cancelled Winter Games of 1940 & 1944 in their numeric count.

See also


  1. "Jeux Olympiques - Sports, Athlètes, Médailles, Rio 2016".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "French and English are the official languages for the Olympic Games.", [1].(..)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Beijing 2008: Games program Finalized". International Olympic Committee. 27 April 2006. Retrieved 10 May 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Olympians". IOC. Retrieved 21 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "National Olympic Committees (NOCs)". IOC. Retrieved 21 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Melbourne / Stockholm 1956". IOC. Retrieved 5 September 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Jeffrey, Ben. "Father of the modern Olympics". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 May 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Tarasouleas, Athanasios (Summer 1993). "The Female Spiridon Loues" (PDF). Citius, Altius, Fortius. 1 (3): 11–12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Young (1996), 153
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