Interesting facts about Olympic & Paralympic Games

Taken from Wikipedia

The four-year wait is almost up. The world’s largest and most anticipated quadrennial sporting event, the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 is just a week away. The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be held in London from 27 July to 12 August 2012, followed by the 2012 Paralympic Games from 29 August to 9 September. This will be the third time that London will host the Olympic Games. Earlier, London hosted the Olympic Games in 1908 and 1948. Thousands of Olympic and Paralympic athletes have arrived at the athletes’ village in London, all in their last stage of preparation for the London Games 2012. In three more days, the Olympic Flame will be arriving in London, making this the final countdown to the London Games 2012. Before the games begin, let’s embark on a journey of understanding the significance and origins of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

History of Olympic Games

Baron Pierre de Coubertin (Taken from Wikipedia)

The first Olympic Games were held in Olympia in Greece in 776 BC. Known as the ancient Olympic Games, the sporting event took place every four years from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. During the ancient times, there were only few traditional games, such as running, javelin throwing, wrestling, and boxing. Back then only men were allowed to participate and watch the games. However, in 393 AD, the Roman emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, abolished the Games because of their pagan influences. Approximately 1500 years later, Baron Pierre de Coubertin who greatly recognised the importance of sports, formed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. Since 1894, the IOC has been the governing body of the Olympic Movement. The first modern Olympic Games took place in Athens in 1896. 241 athletes from 14 nations competed in 43 events for the Athens Games. Today, the Olympic Games have grown greatly into a major international sporting event with more than 10,000 competitors from 205 participating nations taking part in 26 Olympic sports.

History of Paralympic Games
Paralympic Games had its first beginnings in 1948 when United Kingdom doctor, Ludwig Guttmann organised the International Wheelchair Games involving World War II veterans with spinal cord injuries in England. An international Paralympic movement was born four years later and the sports competition evolved into Olympic-styled games. Dr Guttmann’s aim in establishing the Paralympic Games is to offer an equal chance for people with physical disabilities to take part in world sporting events. Running in parallel with the Olympic Games, the first official Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960. 400 athletes from 23 countries competed in the 1960 Games. Since then, the Paralympic Games are held on the same year as the Olympic Games. This year, 147 nations are expected to participate in the Paralympic Games.

Olympic Symbols
Olympic Flame

The Olympic Cauldron in Vancouver (Taken from Wikipedia)

The Olympic flame is an important symbol of the Games. Few months before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the flame is ignited in the Greek city, Olympia. The flame is then carried from Greece to the host city via torch relays. The last bearer of the torch  runs towards the cauldron and lights up the flame in the Olympic Stadium. The Olympic flame never stops burning throughout the Games and  only extinguished on the closing ceremony day. This tradition actually originated from the ancient Olympic Games. The Greeks would light the flame throughout celebration of the ancient Olympics to commemorate the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus.

Olympic Flag

Olympic Flag (Taken from Wikipedia)

The flag of the Olympic Games has a white background with five intertwined coloured Olympic rings: blue, yellow, black, green, and red. The rings represent the union of the five continents: Africa, America, Asia, Oceania, and Europe. The colours are chosen because out of these 5 colors, at least one color appears on all the national flags of the world at present.

Olympic Motto
The Olympic motto is “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, a Latin expression meaning “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. Founded by Coubertin, the motto is explained in the Olympic creed: The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

Paralympic Symbols

Paralympic Symbols (Taken from Wikipedia)

Consisting of three “agitos” in red, blue, and green encircling a single point on a white background, the symbol of the Paralympic Games represents the idea of gathering athletes from all over the world and giving them a chance to compete.

Paralympic Motto
“Spirit in Motion” is the motto for the Paralympic movement. It symbolises the strong will of every athlete of the Paralympics.

Opening Ceremony for Olympic Games
If you have seen the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games, you’ll definitely notice a distinct pattern that frames the opening ceremony. The ceremony typically starts with the raising of the host country’s flag and the singing of its national anthem. Next, the host nation presents a series of artistic performances involving music, singing, dance, and theatre that are symbolic of its culture. The athletes grouped by nations also parade into the stadium. To honour the origins of the Olympics, Greece will always be the first country to enter. The opening ceremony reaches its climax when the final torch bearer runs towards the stadium’s cauldron and lights the Olympic flame for the duration of the Games.
The London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony will be held at Olympic Stadium on 27 July 2012 at 9pm. The Olympic Stadium is just a 7-minute drive from our serviced apartments, Fraser Place Canary Wharf. Themed ‘Isles of Wonder’, the opening ceremony will showcase London’s best cultural displays and welcome the world to London 2012 Games. People from all over the world can watch the ‘live’ telecast of the opening ceremony on their television or the internet.

Closing Ceremony for Olympic Games
The closing ceremony for the Olympic Games takes place after all the sporting events are completed. Similar to the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony will feature artistic displays representative of the host nation’s culture. The athletes will once again march into the stadium in honour of their participation and achievements. The Closing Ceremony also features the extinguishing of the Olympic Flame, signalling the end of the Games.
At the Closing ceremony the official Flag handover or the Handover from one Host City to the Next, handover from England to Brazil will take place as Brazil is the next nation to host the Olympic Games in 2016.
If you are here to watch the London Games 2012, stay with us at Fraser Place Canary Wharf. Fraser Place Canary Wharf is one of Fraser’s properties in London nearest to the Olympic Stadium. Strategically located by the River Thames in fashionable Canary Wharf – a major financial centre and hotspot for chic restaurants, bars and shops – these serviced apartments in London offer easy access to the ExCel London exhibition centre, the West End and the City’s financial centre.

Fraser Place Canary Wharf takes the concept of serviced apartments in London to new heights – literally. The modern towers of these London riverside luxury apartments stand out among the soaring skyscrapers and corporate headquarters of Canary Wharf, offering the kind of temporary housing business travellers dream of. With sky-high standards and services to rival any modern London hotel, you’ll see where we get our reputation for providing the best corporate apartments London has to offer – for both long stays and short term rental.

Whether you are in London on business, travelling with a family, seeking convenient self-catering accommodation in London for a holiday or short break, are between houses, on a training programme, are relocating or looking for convenient Olympics accommodation, these luxury serviced apartments in Canary Wharf will answer your needs.

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