The actual games only last for 16 days.
The Olympic Games began in ancient Greece around 770 BC; from these games stemmed the modern Olympics that started in 1896.
While athletes train most of their lives preparing for the Olympics, the actual games only last for 16 days. During these exciting days, 300 events take place in 35 different sports.
The Olympics aren’t just sporting events though; throughout the competition various ceremonies take place. These ceremonies are meant to inspire athletes, promote national pride, and celebrate tradition and history.
The modern day Olympics are focused on preserving the integrity of the ancient games; so there are a number of rules, regulations, and protocols that must be followed during the Olympics.
On the first day of the Olympics, teams from each country are welcomed by the host nation where their national anthem is played.
The Welcome Ceremonies typically take a few days to complete. Once the Welcome Ceremonies are completed, the much anticipated Opening Ceremony takes place.
The Opening Ceremony starts off with the Parade of Nations in which athletes from all of the participating countries are ushered into the stadium grouped by their country and holding their flag.
The Head of State from the host country then officially announces the opening of the Olympic Games. The President of the International Olympics Committee then gives a speech and afterwards the Olympic flag is brought into the stadium.
The last three events to end the Opening Ceremony are directly connected with the ancient Olympic Games held in Greece; doves are released, one athlete from each country takes an oath, and lastly the flame from the Olympic torch lights the cauldron.
Concluding the Opening Ceremony, there is an extravagant performance put on by the host country to represent their culture.
For the next 14 days, athletes compete in vigorous competitions to gain national recognition and to fulfill their lifelong dream of winning a medal.
The Medals Ceremonies take place after each single event is completed; during this time, athletes stand on their appropriate podium position for the medal they won, are then presented their medals, and the gold medal winners’ national anthem is played.
The Medal Ceremonies aren’t the only time though that the winning athletes are able to bask in their accomplishment. During the London 2012 Olympics there will be over 300 Victory Ceremonies where the winning athletes and their country celebrate their achievement in a formal manner.
Once all of the events have been completed, the Closing Ceremony takes place where all of the athletes celebrate their success. The Closing Ceremony starts with the marching of the athletes.
This differs from the opening Parade of Nations, because instead of walking with their specific nation, all of the athletes walk in together symbolizing the world as ‘one’.
Three flags are then raised; one for Greece, another for the host nation, and then the flag of the country that will be hosting the next Olympics.
Then, the President of the International Olympics Committee returns the next host nation’s flag to them and officially declares the Olympic Games closed.
Lastly, the Olympic flame is extinguished, and the host country ends the evening with a spectacular performance involving thousands of participants.